Ariana was at least glad he was going to eat and offered no protests at it. He made quick work of the sandwich and Ariana was happy enough with that as she finished her own sandwich and leaned back with the hot mug in her hands which was full of hot ginger goodness. She looked to Gary and smiled a little,
“I know, I love you too.” She said as she watched him get comfortable and she glanced to the time. It was still early, well, somewhat early so a couple of hours wouldn’t do him any harm before she had to wake him to sleep in bed properly. He would be alright.
Ariana got comfortable and looked down at Gary, using her free hand that was absent of the tea as she played with Gary’s hair, marvelling at the strands as she watched his sleeping face. What a man he was, so strong and yet so fragile, too easily lost. Ariana drained her mug and plonked it down absently on the table, careful not to shuffle her dozing husband too much as she switched the television onto a film. It was cosy right then and she didn’t want to move, content to fiddle with his hair and run the strands through her nimble fingers as she focused on the film.
It wasn’t that interesting and not her style at all but it was background noise for the peaceful moment. Eventually the film ended with a good ending, in Ariana’s opinion as she looked down to Gary, brushing her fingers over his forehead. It had been nice to see him goofy and happy at the pub, surrounded by his friends she had to admit.
“We should go to bed.” She murmured softly, loathing to spoil the quiet. She leaned down and pressed a kiss to his forehead in place of her fingers.
Last bit? Gary opened his eyes to be greeted with a bleary version of their street, and a sideways glance taught him, their house. Ri was already there, even before he could clear his vision by rubbing his eyes, helping him out of the car. Food was the very last thing on his mind, but Gary knew he'd probably feel better for eating something, so he didn't protest. He dropped his bag at the coat-rack and struggled with his crutches and coat. Once that battle was conquered, he inched inside and stifled a hiccup.
His stomach felt acid after their little drive and Gary wasn't sure whether to just sit down or visit the restroom first. Ariana's puttering about was distracting and Gary stood there for a while, doing nothing, until something sparked some motivation back into him. He went and relieved his bladder first, in hopes of feeling a little better and then clumsily made his way back to the couch.
His head felt light and weird. Maybe Ri was right. He ought to just eat something and then sleep. A sandwich appeared in front of him and Gary merely smiled at Ri.
"Thanks," he mumbled, reaching for the food.
Despite his misgivings, Gary made short work of the sandwich. He licked his fingers to rid of the breadcrumbs, not exactly the most coordinated of eaters when buzzed. Once the food was gone however, and his stomach reasonably settled, there was no reason to stay awake it seemed.
"You weren't angry, are you going to be angry?" he mumbled softly, body lurching to the side until Gary realized and caught himself. He put away his plate and elevated his leg. He didn't want to move no more. Gary pushed his hair back with both hands and willed the faint dizziness to just disappear. It didn't feel good no more. Not the way it had been back at the pub. He tipped his head back against the back of the couch and rolled it to face Ariana. His eyes were hazy and in the end Gary just gave up on trying to fight the overwhelming drowsiness following him around and closed his eyes.
"I love you, you know that?" Gary breathed and put a hand to Ri's thigh. She was warm. Without any further cognitive thinking involved, Gary let himself slump into Ariana, getting comfortable by putting his head on her lap.
She'd said to sleep it off, so that was what Gary set out to do. Within seconds after getting comfortable, Gary gracelessly passed out. It'd take more than a trumpet call to get him to wake up this time.
Ariana watched Gary and gave a small shake of her head at his current state. At least he could somewhat walk and she waved to the guys as she started off with Gary, listening to his ramblings as she helped him into the car. It was nice to get out and have the energy, Ariana still felt invigorated but a glance to Gary as she drove proved either the alcohol had taken its toll or he had really overdone it. Hopefully this one outing wouldn’t rain if his chances of recovery. Ariana knew the roads well enough so getting home wasn’t a long endeavour as she parked up, switching off the engine. She looked to Gary,
“C’mon, last bit.” She said to him as she got out and helped him, just in case he was even more wobbly.
The house was warm and Ariana was grateful as she worked her way to the kettle, flicking it on and knowing she should drink some ginger tea or else all of today’s good eating would be wasted in the morning.
“You should eat something, that’s probably how three beers has scuppered you.” And the injuries he had taken on but she didn’t say that out loud. She figured something light at least, she had eaten enough through the day and she looked over to Gary as she set a coffee down for him. She wasn’t angry at him, more worried than anything. Then again in a few months the tables would turn as Ariana got nearer and nearer her due date and she probably wouldn’t be as helpful, though she wouldn’t admit it. It had been a long day, but they had both done well for the most part.
Ariana eyed the fridge and she didn’t much feel like cooking any proper and she was unsure if Gary would even be able to stay awake for anything that took longer than half an hour to prepare. A sandwich would probably soak up the excess alcohol in his system and line his stomach. The blonde set about making up sandwiches, setting one down in front of her mushy brained husband,
“Try it, then you can sleep it off.” She said to him, sitting beside him and realising she probably should have gotten out of her work clothes and given into being more comfortable.
"Did they?" Gary hummed when Ri mentioned the girls had asked after him. Then, that meant everyone knew about the accident? Another basket too, huh? "That's nice," he breathed and finished his beer. Dan had half a mind to order them another, but could tell Gary was already at his limit. It wouldn't be decent to send Ariana home with a drunk husband, now would it?
"Probably," Gary admitted. He was so unbelievably tired, but also very reluctant to move at all. He was comfortable at the pub, safe and relaxed in the company of his friends. A yawn threatened and Gary was unable to stifle it.
"Same old," he waved away any intelligent replies regarding his work. Honestly? They had him doing the unimpressive and low importance stuff, unable to judge just how reliably he could put away work and Gary was fine with that for now.
"Yeah, no, I texted you so we could go," Gary started. Ray caught on to Gary's floundering attempts at getting up and steadied the table.
"Thanks for the drinks, Dan," he mumbled, gathering his crutches.
"No problem mate, sleep it off, huh?" the man chuckled. Gary gave him a glare, or something that had to pass as such and finally managed to stand on his own.
"My car is here," Gary told Ariana. "Did you bring the keys?" It didn't dawn on him that the maths of drivers versus cars didn't quite match up.
"Oh, I can't drive. I guess we're using your car? Did you come by car?" Gary asked, chatty because of the alcohol, but his words carried a faint sluggishness and confusion about them.
"See you guys later," Gary said his goodbyes and then started the laborious task of navigating the pub. It was harder moving out of the establishment than it had been walking in, that much was for sure. Gary moved slowly, conscious of how heavy his leg was and how unsteady he'd become. Standing up made everything shift in a weird way.
Dan gave Ray a slightly concerned look, watching Gary's unsteady gait, but Ray waved it off. "He'll be fine."
Gary managed to spot Ri's car easily enough. She hadn't parked very far.
"How is it three beers does me in these days?" he complained, fumbling with the car door and crutches combined. All he wanted was to close his eyes and sleep. Shouldn't have drank at all. Or gone to the pub, maybe. But it'd been good. Merry in a way the last few weeks had seen fairly little of. Gary knew he needed that social interaction just as much as rest or medicine. When he finally did sit his ass down in the car, Gary breathed a sigh of relief. He slumped down and gave in to the heaviness of his eyelids. He didn't quite fall asleep. Gary was too wired to give in, so he was faintly aware of the twists and turns they took, stirring a sick feeling in his gut.
Ariana gave a greeting smile at the small puddle of men, thanking Eddie for giving up his seat before looking to Ray,
"Thanks." She said to him warmly and turned her attention to Gary, hiding a small laugh at him. He did look good, clean shaven and more like himself with that goofy grin.
"Love you too." She said to him and she could tell he was somewhat inebriated, but he wasn't sloppy so evidently wasn't entirely drunk. Ariana looked to the waitress, a little caught off guard because she wasn't sure if she wanted anything.
"Oh, uh lemonade, please." She ordered politely and she gave a small smile to her.
Ariana looked to Gary again, a little lost in the busy antics of the pub and as much as she had missed the socialising aspect, she hadn't missed the business of it. It was easy to get swallowed up, especially with Gary's eccentric friends.
"Work was fine," Ariana said to him, watching him carefully for any tell tale signs that he needed to go home, because he likely wouldn't admit it right then.
"Girls asked after you, and we have another basket." She explained with a small nod. It was a lovely gesture and Ariana took a sip of her lemonade as it was set down. Ariana offered a smile to Gary at his second proclamation of love and looked to Ray, nodding in understanding but she would have to make sure he had a coffee and something to eat when he got home.
Ariana looked to Gary,
"We should get you home." She didn't want to be the needy wife who pulled her husband from his friends but she also knew that he had some recovery to go. She didn't press the matter though, happy to nurse the lemonade because honestly, she couldn't remember the last time she had fizzy fluids.
"How was your work?" She asked him, a little amused because somehow his days always ended up in the pub but she knew he worked hard and sometimes the stories he chased could be harrowing and deserved a beer afterwards.
Ariana set her almost empty glass down, a couple of ice cubes rattling around as she leaned back in the chair. Normality was good but she did have to sort dinner and the earlier lunch had piqued her appetite a little.
"Come on, or I can come back later on?" She had to trust him some time and if he thought he could stay out then she had to let him.
"Look who's there," Dan announced cheerfully at Ariana's arrival. Gary shot a glance back over his shoulder and broke out into a goofy smile, "Ri," he greeted. Eddy finished his beer and put it down with an audible plunk.
"That's my cue," Eddy stated and got up from his seat. He held it out for Ariana, "missus," he nodded in an over-acted polite manner.
"She here to your rescue, Jenkins?" Dan chuckled and grinned. "Congratulations, I hear you're having a baby boy? Just as well," he said with a laugh.
"He's been quiet all day, but now I know why. You look lovely today, Ariana," Ray complimented the woman. Gary kicked Ray with the one foot that did work as it was supposed to and sent the man a glare.
"It's not like that, I'm just tired," he defended himself, tongue a bit thicker than he would've liked. His third beer wasn't even half-way gone, because his focus was all over the place. As if discovering the drink for the first time, Gary took a sip.
"He's right though," Gary told Ariana. "I love you so much," he breathed in a sigh. Dan gagged and shook his head at the two love-birds.
"Can I get you anything, love?" Linda asked, pad already out as she arrived at their table.
Gary waved limply at Eddy's departure and received a palm to the back for his efforts.
"Don't let him sit out here for too long," Eddy warned. He knew from last time Gary tired quickly still. Full work-days were a challenge too. Everyone in the office noticed, but most were just glad Gary was showing his face and looked to be improving.
"Take care of yourself, alright?" the man said by means of departure and then grabbed his things and made himself scarce, presumably to go and meet his deadline. Gary propped his chin on a hand and dazedly listened in on Dan and Ray's conversation. His eyes slid over to Ariana and lingered.
He wasn't exactly drunk, but by no means was he sober. Gary didn't want to try walking just yet. His eyes were heavy and he felt drowsy. Despite that, he didn't suffer the headache he'd been expecting all afternoon long.
"We're having a baby boy," he muttered and grinned with a snort, then took another long drink. "How was work today?" Gary asked. Ri seemed happy. It wasn't often these days that she'd come into the pub to sit with him and his mates. Actually, he couldn't recall the last time she'd done that. Usually Ri was angry with him when he drank a few beers or stayed out late. He examined the glass he held and furrowed his brow, then gave Ri a suspicious look.
"Am I already asleep?" he pitched, a suspicious undertone in his voice.
"'cause it's a pretty nice dream if it is," Gary followed up after a second thought. It was as if someone had gone and erased that difficult period in time. As if they'd been 'reset' somehow. The revelation was heavy on his inebriated mind and Gary scrubbed at his face. When it turned out reality wasn't moving or going anywhere, he slumped back in his chair.
"I love you, you know that?" Gary told Ri again, unaware that he had already told her just minutes before.
"He's had one too many," Ray motioned at Ariana, even if they'd only been three or so odd drinks.
For the most part it was a relaxing afternoon, not too busy and not too quiet with the girls chattering her ear off about whatever drama she had missed over the past few weeks. It felt normal, it felt nice. Ariana leaned back from the computer and realised it was late afternoon, checking her phone and realising she had no text. She figured he must have been doing alright, someone would have called if something happened. Maybe he’d chased some lead or the guys had roped him into going out. Part of Ariana hoped not, unsure how alcohol would mix with his injuries. That, and the lingering feeling they would end up back at square one if he turned the pub into a habit again.
“Do you fancy a late lunch?” Sarah piped up and Ariana looked up from her device and errant mind. She’d skipped lunch, she realised but the girls had plied her with tea and biscuits most of the day which probably wasn’t a bad thing.
“Charlotte’s place, c’mon. We can have a proper catch up. I’ll order in something because God knows Charlotte can’t cook.” Sarah teased and Ariana finally agreed given Charlotte was close to the office. Ariana gave them a ride to Charlotte’s place and she had to admit she would be grateful to get out of the skirt once she was home.
“So, come on.” Charlotte said once they were inside and Ariana looked around as she located the dining room area, Charlotte tapping in an order on her phone.
“When’s the next scan? Have you thought of a name?” Charlotte asked as Sarah sat herself down as well. Ariana undid her hair from the confines of the pins and bands.
“Scan soon, and we were thinking of Noah.” Ariana answered to which both the other women cooed.
Fed and watered adequately on some noodles from the local Chinese, Ariana felt her phone vibrate, checking the text from Gary. Pub, right. Ariana was disappointed but once couldn’t hurt? She looked to the other two women, explaining that she had to go and get Gary.
“Take care.” Sarah said to her genuinely with a smile and Ariana nodded,
“No slacking off at home either.” Charlotte remarked with a laugh and Ariana tutted at the two before heading to the pub in the car, making sure the little basket was safe in the backseat. It wasn’t worth an argument with Gary about whether he should be at the pub or not, and anyways she had really enjoyed her today so where was the harm?
Ariana parked up and paused for a moment, switching the engine off. She couldn’t drink so it wasn’t like she could join in frivolities but she figured there was no danger in showing face. She smoothed her shirt and skirt, glad at least today she had made some sort of effort as she got out and headed inside, avoiding a couple of men as they clumsily came outside and she eyed the interior of the bar, catching a glimpse of a few familiar faces, including her husband. Once, she would have chastised him and then stopped coming inside entirely but this was supposed to be a fresh start right? Ariana made her way over, looking down to his cast and raising an amused eyebrow. At least Gary wasn’t getting a taxi home.
"Yeah, yeah, I just..." Gary shrugged, waving at his cast and he shook his head. "Recovery has been so ridiculously slow, it's just frustrating," he said in a bout of undiluted honestly. Eddy picked up on Gary's frustration and sent him an understanding smile.
"Oh, I know what that's like," the man emphasised with a wiggle of his trapped fingers. It'd been bad. Eddy knew it was bad the minute he'd been sat down at the site of the accident and the firemen had to cut Gary free from the wreckage of what was once their taxi.
"We've been lucky, don't you forget it," Eddy said with a chipper undertone. Dan dropped by and later on Ray joined the bunch as well.
Gary toyed with his phone, weighing off sending Ariana a text to come pick him up and lingering a bit to chat with his mates. In the end Gary decided that he could see Ri every day, but it'd been a while since he'd last talked with his friends, even if his headache was creeping up. The wise thing to do was go home and rest, but a stubborn part reasoned that he didn't need to go anywhere in particular the next day anyway.
It was only early afternoon when Ray figured they could go for a drink and both Gary and Eddy were goaded into coming along.
"Let's hope your lady doesn't do the dramatics this time around, huh?" Ray said as he drove them to the local pub. It was already open for a while when they arrived. Some of the booths had guests in them with self-employed people having a meet or working at the large table. Gary breathed in deeply and felt like he'd made the right choice in coming. It felt like a step forward. Like he was passing some of the self-imposed barriers. Maybe the nightmares would be less by exposure, if he persisted. The thought of a taxi still made him feel wary.
Ray and Dan were discussing the latest assignments they were working on, sharing some information. Coffee was set out on the table and Gary propped his leg up on a stool, kindly provided to him by a waitress.
"Welcome back," she said and smiled at him. Gary gave her a mildly confused look. "Hey, can't a girl notice your absence?" she flirted lightly and patted his cast. Her hand lingered.
"I've got just the thing for this," Linda started and walked off. Still a bit confused, Gary looked to Eddy.
"She'd served us that night, you don't remember?" Eddy said with a clack of his tongue. She was new to the joint and Gary had flirted with her, though obviously didn't recall.
"Ah, she'll forgive you," Ray said with a toothy grin.
Linda, as it turned out, came back with a marker.
"H-hey..." Gary protested, but Eddy wiggled his cast in view and showed him the tell-tale signatures and Gary rolled his eyes. He was helpless to resist as the boys started to draw a wide array of 'art' onto the cast.
"You know Ri isn't going to-"
"Oh, take a load off," Dan said and drew another love-heart on the cast.
Linda mouthed a 'sorry' as she left, giggling as she did so. Gary just chuckled at the sight of Eddy trying to draw something with his off-hand.
They discussed work for a while longer, until coffee turned to beer and Gary reluctantly accepted. Some food was offered up and Gary figured that he'd limit himself to just a couple beers before texting Ariana. A couple turned out to be a fair amount for a convelescent though. Gary felt the first beer and the second didn't help matters. Dan noticed he'd slowed down.
"What, you gone light-weight on us?" he chuckled and Gary just waved away his challenge, not even having the sanity of mind to formulate a reply at that time.
"Hey, hey, leave the man alone, huh?" Eddy defended him, "it's hard work, mending broken bones."
"And a concussion," Ray added. "Don't forget his brains are all rattled."
"Alright, alright," Gary started. "It's just been a long day already. It's been a long few weeks." He drained his beer, leaning on the table a little more tipsy than he'd hoped to be after so little. That didn't stop Dan from ordering them another round.
"One more to go then," Dan announced.
"I have to go soon," Eddy started, "have to get that piece done by tomorrow before the deadline tomorrow and let me tell you, typing with one hand is really breaking my stride."
Gary brought out his phone as conversation continued without him and started a text to Ri with where he was at. It was slow typing to make sure his spelling was all correct and his phone didn't alter his words into nonsense, but he somehow managed.
Ariana was worried Gary was doing too much, too soon but she couldn’t say anything and she didn’t want to. He was an adult and she knew him well enough to know he would be going crazy in the house constantly. They needed routine, even if it was fleeting. She watched Gary head into his workplace for a few moments before she finally pulled off. She knew she would worry about him but she figured seeing the girls from work would help distract her. She had to trust her husband that he wouldn’t push himself too much. She guessed he had to trust her to do the same in a way.
Ariana pulled into the parking lot of the little travel shop and took a moment to make sure she had everything as she locked up the car and headed inside the establishment. She smiled warmly at the small pocket of other women who were taken off guard by her appearance. It was a slow day, evidently but then it was midweek.
“Ariana!” Sarah was first time pipe up as she got to her feet, “We weren’t expecting you. You look lovely.” Although the older woman did notice she was still thin but given how she had been after the miscarriage, she looked healthier.
“Come on, sit down. Been quiet today.” The brunette explained as she got Ariana some tea and settled on the other side of the desk.
“What needs doing?” Ariana asked and eyed the computer in front of her and Sarah shook her head.
“Really? Well, there’s a couple emails to go through, just confirmations for holidays.” Sarah said as she watched her, slightly worried about her.
“But first, you’ve got to tell us, how everything is going?” She said and made a gesture to Ariana’s stomach. Ariana smiled a little as she logged into the computer system.
“We’re having a boy.” Ariana said with a small smile at the girls reactions of joy and excitement around her.
“Oh! We were going to drop by at some point but we’ll, we weren’t sure when would be best. How is Gary?” Sarah asked tepidly as Charlotte, another pretty brunette vanished into the staff room. Sarah watched the look of confusion pass over her colleagues face.
“It was in the paper briefly about his accident.” Sarah explained and Ariana made an ‘oh’ sound.
“He’s alright, recovering slowly. It’s been... a rollercoaster.” Ariana said as she averted her eyes to the computer screen and looked over a few things. Charlotte has returned after a moment of quiet with a small basket of baby things.
“We were going to get you clothes and blankets but we figured a little essential basket was better.” Charlotte said as she set it down, a little wicker basket with some newborn bottles, diapers and a little plush teddy bear along with a tub of formula and some others little pieces. Ariana smiles to them,
“You didn’t have to.” She said, genuinely taken aback. Sarah waved a hand dismissively,
“As long as I can come to the baby shower.” Baby shower, right. Maybe in a few weeks.
Ariana was glad to be surrounded by chit chat and working again, tapping through some emails and even dealing with a small family and booking them onto a cruise somewhere hot. Ariana sat back and ran a hand through her hair, glancing to the time.
A text, was it? Gary gave Ri a faint nod and gathered himself. After a while of sitting still and coming to terms with his body's moans and gripes with rising this early, Gary forced himself to plough on and get his ass downstairs. Ariana looked all proper, ready for work in her pencil skirt and shirt to match. Gary hadn't seen her like that in a while. Especially before the pregnancy, Ri hadn't gone through the effort, but barely through the motions and it was showing somehow. He sat down at the kitchen table, running his hair back with both hands, willing his headache to stay under wraps.
Breakfast was dealt with swiftly, and the tea served to wake him up a little. Gary checked his phone for messages and replied to some. Just those few casual replies would've been enough for a pounding headache just a small few weeks ago, so there was some progress at least. He sighed, got up and gathered his things. More absent-minded than ever, Gary took an inordinately long time to gather what he needed, mainly because he'd forgotten where Ri had put his bag the other day. Better, yes. Recovered? Not exactly.
Gary put his things on the kitchen table and scoured the living for the single shoe he'd need to get through the day. Once that was settled however, he was ready to go. Part of him was happy to go out and see his mates, while a tired part just wanted to tuck back in and refuse today's cold weather entirely.
"Well, I'm ready," Gary announced.
"You look good," he said, appreciating Ariana's attire for the second time that day. They could always blow things off and just relax together. Gary shook his head.
The ride over was much of the same; the same old roads, the same old grey overcast skies and dreary wet roads. His thoughts were with last night's memories, reflecting on how things had changed since that fateful night and their unborn child, growing in Ariana's belly like a ticking time-bomb.
To say he was ready for the bustle the office brought would be an over-estimate, but he didn't feel as overwhelmed as he had the first time either. Finding his desk and getting in the zone was easier; even moving around the office was a little easier. Gary surmised most of that was likely because he'd finally shaken the lingering infection, though he was still due for treatment. That, and less people came and stopped by at his desk, to welcome him back. The novelty must've worn off already.
Eddy broke his flagging focus a few hours in by clapping him on the back. His other arm was still in a sling. Gary's eyes travelled to the man's face and smiled back at Eddy's goofy grin.
"Back in the saddle then?" Eddy started and sat down, stretching out in the chair.
Gary slumped back and let out a weary sigh, "well..."
"How is Ariana?"
"Yeah, she's-...she's got morning sickness, but it's going well. When does the cast come off?" Gary supplied.
"That'll be a couple more weeks. More like a month," the man said and scratched the back of his head. "I'll just have Jones write up all my things," Eddy grinned. The man's grin faded slowly. He waved in greeting to some other colleagues passing by and then focussed on Gary.
"So how've you been, Gary? Boys at the pub have been asking after you. You should show your face one of these days," Eddy started. "It'd be good to get back to it."
Gary’s shifting and tossing and turning didn’t really disturb Ariana, not enough that she woke from the soft clouds of rest. A stray hand here and there’s had reached to offer some comfort to him but Ariana would have no recollection of it in the morning. The first thing that came to disturb her properly was the alarm from Gary’s phone and she pulled a face and wiggled down further in the blankets, huffing slightly as she dared to open her eyes, squinting at him as she adjusted to the cold light of day. He looked exhausted and Ariana fought to sit up a little as she rubbed her face. She watched him gobble off for a shower and sighed, stretching her limbs as she got out of bed and picked through some clothes to wear, bundling them in her arms when she picked the right attire.
She leaned on the door the bathroom and watched Gary shave, she knew he was tired and so would anyone just from looking at him.
“You can text me when you’re ready.” She said to him, it would give her a decent excuse if the girls at work were chewing her ear off a little too much about babies and such whilst they tapped away at computers. Ariana enjoyed her job, even if it wasn’t particularly glamorous but there was a nice element to booking holidays for others and helping them travel. Ariana switched the water on and had a quick shower. It seemed like a long time since she had gotten ready for work. She dried her hair, pinning it into a bun with a few flyaway strands, a beard shirt in place with a pencil skirt that wouldn’t fit for much longer. Heels were a definite no given the pregnancy so some black flat shoes did just as well. Makeup applied with a little perfume and Ariana was set to go.
“I’ll put the kettle on.” She said to Gary with a smile, heading downstairs because she knew she would have to eat something before daring the venture to work. Bread toasted and tea brewed, she set everything on the kitchen table as she sat and looked for something sweet to put on the toast. Honey would work as she was careful of the thin layer of sticky liquid, balancing the toast so it wouldn’t spill on her. Maybe honey wasn’t the best idea afte
By the time he laid back on the bed, Gary was wide awake. They were memories of that faithful night; being taken in to the hospital after the accident. Gary had woken up not recalling anything that'd happened after getting into the taxi, save for the one depiction of peaceful snow, slowly coming down. And now there were these memories. Gary slung an arm across his eyes, listening to Ariana puttering about the house getting ready for bed. He was safe here. Nothing could happen to him and still his leg hurt more than it had any right to and there was an unsettled feeling which had taken up residence in the pit of his gut. The bed dipped with Ri's arrival and Gary shifted a little to look at her.
"Good night," Gary muttered. He spent most of the night like that, tossing and turning, uncomfortable and high strung. For Ariana's sake, Gary tried not to disturb her too much, but the discomfort forced him to move and gripe with the blankets and pillow until the small hours of the night, when finally his body gave in to the need to rest.
By the time his alarm went off, Gary was worn down already. He cracked open a few bloodshot eyes and groaned, haplessly aiming for the offending phone. Gary squinted at the machine, the early hour and snapped the alarm off. It was far too early. His arm flopped onto his chest along with the phone and he closed his eyes for a while longer. Right. Work today. Gary took a deep breath and glanced over at Ri's side of the bed, wondering whether she'd gotten any rest the way he'd spent the night.
Either way he was awake now. Gary took a deep breath and sat up.
"I'll shower first," Gary decided and found his crutches. Drowsiness clung to his mind, but Gary hoped a shower would wash away the last of the fuzziness. He put the water a little colder than usual and fought with his broken leg to make sure it didn't get wet. Each day he had a little more energy left after the whole ordeal of preparing for a day. Gary even took the time to shave and look somewhat presentable. He had to get his head back in the game, for both Ri and himself.
If it weren't for the cast, he'd almost be the Gary from before the accident. He watched himself in the mirror and tried a smile, though it fell flat at the tired look in his eyes. Gary was tired playing the victim, even if he was. Despite that mind-set, Gary still found he had to take a step back once he'd gotten all dressed up and take a minute to catch his breath.
"Do I need to catch a ride back from work?" Gary asked Ariana. He couldn't expect her to be his driver all the time, after all.
Blue fitted. Ariana offered a small smile in agreement as she took a seat close by Gary, eyeing the screen as she nursed her tea. She wasn’t a huge fan of the taste but it was working so far to keep her sickness at bay so she would put up with it. Ariana shifted slightly, moving her gaze to Gary as he gave in to sleep. She didn’t disturb him, rather focus on the television. She was slightly worried as she noticed the fitful effects of whatever dream Gary was enduring, given away by a twitch, a sharp breath here and there. Ariana was in two minds about to wake him, or try to but she was too late.
Ariana watched Gary and reached out a hand to his, silently as she watched him grab his bearings. He was safe, he was on their couch. Ariana didn’t want to ask if he was okay, it was evident he wasn’t.
“Alright.” She said softly, offering no argument as she watched his features. He looked shaken up, unsurprisingly and she didn’t ask what his dream was about. The accident most likely given his lurch. She glanced to the time and figured she should tidy up and head to bed herself. Ariana got to her feet and helped Gary up, in a sort of quiet assurance.
Ariana washed up the cups and set the dishes away in their places, flicking off the television, drying her hands before remembering the vitamins she had been prescribed as she washed them down with some water and started up the stairs, washing her face and brushing out her hair as she found a loose shirt to sleep in, oversized and comfortable. She slipped in between the sheets and relaxed for a moment, letting the mattress hug her form as she adjusted her pillows.
"A shade of blue, I suppose," Gary trailed along to Ri's inquiry. "It will be a boy, after all." His mind wandered off to consider what Lisa's 'own way' of helping would entail, but for all that they disagreed, Lisa would put up with him for Ariana's sake. That and he honestly needed to behave and pretend nice to have her help keep tabs on Ri. Having another fainting spell wasn't good for his health either. Gary zoned out watching Ri wash up and then shook himself, pushing up to stand when it seemed conversation petered down.
Just two more rounds of antibiotics and then hopefully the next appointment would be to exchange his cast for something more mobile. Gary lifted his leg and sat back on the couch, closing his eyes and just letting reality wash in and out on the tide of his headache kissing the shores of the painkillers. Tea stirred him long enough to accept the mug Ri offered up. Ginger. He could smell it.
Rather than comment, Gary drank his tea and flicked on the television. After a few random programmes, he finally found a channel both of them could appreciate with some sort of comedy show. As long as it was mindless enough to numb his thoughts, Gary could agree with whatever and so he left the remote on the table for Ri to take if she pleased. Once the tea was gone, Gary slumped down the couch even further and as time wore on, so did his fight against sleep.
Arms folded in front of him, leg stretched out, Gary tried to beat his personal record of sleeping sitting up yet again. It'd be the umpteenth night of attempting it, though lately he'd given in to lying down more frequently.
Shreds of memories, previously holed up in darkness due to his concussion came drifting to shore. Light-flashes. Red and blue. An ambulance and a man's face, whose mouth opened and closed to form words he didn't recall and couldn't hear. More lights. This time bright enough to blind him. Probing hands stripped his clothes, pushed and plied him in place. Gary struggled against their hold and found he could move. Startled, Gary's hands shot out to grip the couch and tried to calm his racing heart by taking in deep, rushed breaths. Once he caught on nothing was wrong just a few seconds later, he deflated and slumped back, running a shaky hand down his face.
"I should get to bed," Gary excused his behaviour.
A nightmare or a memory? His head was whirling at the images, which didn't seem to just go away like any ordinary nightmare would. He steeled himself and grit his teeth before reaching for his crutches. It'd happened and that was over now. He was getting better.
The touch to her wrist brought her back from whatever wandering plains of thought she dared to venture off into, although it had meant she had eaten without thinking about it too much. She glanced to him and gave a small, almost apologetic smile.
“Yeah, of course.” Every scan was a reminder that the baby was real, it wasn’t some figment of imagination Ariana had simply wished into reality. She eventually managed to clear her plate,
“Lisa and manual labour?” She raised an eyebrow with a small laugh. She knew Lisa would help but it would likely be choosing colours and chattering everyone’s ear off about this and that. Although, it would be a good environment and hopefully her sister could keep her words civil. Sometimes she was more like her mother than Ariana would dare ever say out loud.
“She’ll help... in her own way, I’m sure.” She said as she got to her feet and starting to clear the dishes away, setting the kettle to boil. Washing up was easy enough, keeping her busy and reminding her of some sort of normality.
“What colours do you like?” She asked, glancing over momentarily. A nice blue perhaps, maybe green? Definitely not yellow, Ariana wasn’t a fan of the ‘gender neutral’ colours and yellow was such an off setting colour, too bright sometimes or too sickly. She had no doubts their son wouldn’t care, and truthfully the room could be as dull and grey as a cloudy and rainy day and she wouldn’t care either. All that mattered was having their son.
Ariana set the dishes to dry and sorted out tea, of course sorting herself her ginger blend and passing Gary a hot mug as she settled herself on the couch to indulge in the hot beverage which would hopefully keep her stomach settled enough to avoid any morning sickness. That would be the last thing she needed before venturing to work tomorrow.
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