Ariana gathered the bag and headed back down to the hospital. It was a slow drive for the most part and uneventful as she parked up and eyed the facility. Her mind was still buzzing a million miles per hour and she knew she would have to ground herself because the last thing she wanted was Gary worrying for her while he should be resting. She should have known something was wrong. She sighed out a little as she exited the car and grabbed the bag, heading inside. Trekking the halls from memory proved to be an expedition as she eventually found his ward. She wasn’t much of a fan of a shared ward but at least his curtain were drawn so it was some privacy. Better than nothing she supposed. She could hear voices and she recognised Graham and Hannah’s tones immediately. She almost didn’t want to interrupt.
She slipped between the curtains quietly and set his bag down by his bag, giving a small smile in greeting. Her eyes swept to Gary and she eyed the wires and tubes going into him and cringed. She didn’t get the same comfort of it not being as serious just because others were around. It still didn’t feel quite so real yet.
“Hey.” She said, quietly. She sank into a spare chair, her back having a dull ache most likely from the up and downs of the day and her pregnancy. She figured her body was starting to shift to adjust to bringing new life into the world in six months. Gary looked relaxed and that was a relief, he looked calmer than he had the last twenty four hours and at least he was getting the treatment he needed.
“I just got some spare clothes, toothbrush, the usual.” Hopefully he wouldn’t be in for a long stay but if this was the best place to get him help then she would be patient with it all. Ariana hated to see him in hospital, it wasn’t natural and it unnerved her more than she wanted to admit. She looked to Hannah and Graham, offering up a smile to them in place of worries and concerns that they no doubt all shared. He was getting help, she had to remind herself. This was the best place for him to be no matter how much she disliked it. She would have to suck it up. If this kept him from going under the knife again, then she would absolutely prefer this.
Hannah carefully put down the phone and looked up at Graham. A questioning look masked his face.
"Gary has been admitted to hospital with an infection," she summarized Ariana's worries.
"A complication?" Graham asked, concerned now. Complications had a nasty habit of getting out of control quick.
"They caught it early, she said," Hannah explained
Hannah nodded. Graham cringed and sighed out. He got up to give his wife a hug and nodded at the door.
"We should be in time for visiting hours."
After a moment's thought, the older woman nodded. Loathe she admit, she was worried for her son and the only way to ease that discomfort was to see him. Graham knew her all to well sometimes.
People were buzzing about in the hospital. Hannah watched as her husband inquired after their son and what room he was located in. After a few minutes, he waved her towards one of the hallways and she followed, clutching her purse close. She disliked the hospital greatly. Too many people that were dear to her had lost their lives in this place.
Unlike before, Gary was on a shared ward this time around. The curtains were pulled up to offer him a sense of privacy and Gary seemed to be asleep. Hannah relaxed at the sight momentarily, because sure, there were wires running into his body, but he seemed to be comfortably resting and not in as much distress the way he'd been after the accident.
"Hey boy," Graham announced them and Hannah hushed him. Gary blinked his eyes open nonetheless and Graham offered the younger man a smile.
"Dad? Mom?" he breathed, smiled and lazily stretched out. "Did Ari call you?"
"She did," his mom confirmed and she took his hand, then pressed a kiss to his forehead. He felt warmer than he should be, if the blush high on his cheeks hadn't given it away already.
"You can't do anything the easy way, can you?" his father chastised him and Gary rolled his eyes. He meant it in jest, so Gary just let it. The older man took up perch in one of the plastic chairs and surveyed the room.
Just the presence of other patients made it feel like this time was less serious somehow.
"How are you feeling, sweetie?" Hannah asked softly and leaned against the side of the bed.
"It's not too bad," Gary replied honestly. After they'd put him on some stronger painkillers and the antibiotics, he wasn't feeling that bad. Even his stomach had calmed down considerably, though not to the point where he felt like eating yet.
"Where's Ri?" Gary asked after a moment's thought.
"She's getting you some things," his mother soothed Gary's concern.
"What do the doctors say?" Graham started.
"I don't know. Antibiotics are supposed to make it better. I've one of those ports in my leg," he motioned limply at the sheets. "I feel a little better," he said, something of hope in his voice. Then again, he'd been asleep for the majority of the day.
Ariana watched Gary, wordlessly because she still felt like somehow this whole mess was her fault. She ran her fingers over his head gently and she sighed out softly. The arrival of nurses and doctors took over whatever small comfort she could give him. Pain relief and then a doctor speaking with her.
“Another operation?” She looked a little stunned that something like that might be needed and she chewed her lip. Of course she was hearing the serious implications rather than focusing on the fact the pain relief and direct line of antibiotics would help him and hopefully avoid such a serious path. Bed bound. Ariana looked to Gary, he just looked vulnerable again and there was nothing she could do to help.
“Yeah, of course.” She answered robotically, as if trying to come to terms with everything that was going on.
She had to call his parents. Sort him a bag. Did she bring it back tonight or would she wait until tomorrow? Gary was resting, she figured she should sort as much as she could right then.
“I’ll come back with some of his things. I need to call his parents.” She said, not that the doctor cared about trivial things but it really helped her to say things out loud and clarify what was going on. She looked to Gary before thanking the doctor and heading out. The drive home was lonely, the house was lonely and Ariana felt empty. She didn’t know what Gary would need but she figured it was best to have it and not need it, right? Fresh clothes, loose enough to be comfortable in and his toothbrush were tossed into a duffel bag. Ariana caught a glimpse of her phone and she sighed.
Here goes nothing.
Ariana dialled up his parents and took a deep breath.
“Hey- Happy new year. Everything’s okay, sort of. Gary has an infection in his leg and the doctor said they caught it early. He’s back in hospital.” The words left her mouth in a torrent and she realised it probably sounded insensitive.
“Sorry. It just happened a bit fast. I’m heading back to drop some things off for him.” She apologised and finally hung up. This was honestly exhausting to her and she didn’t know where to start with everything. She sort of just looked around the kitchen and got herself a glass of water to quench whatever nerves were eating away at her. She glanced to the countertop and eyed the grey image of their growing infant and it was like a ticking time bomb. Six months if all went well and it seemed like such a short time away. She grabbed the duffel bag and rummaged through, making sure there was enough in case Gary did need to stay longer.
Ri was there at last. Gary looked at her, at the fragile smile she'd managed to put on for his sake and almost cringed. He wanted to tell Ariana that he'd be alright, that this was only a temporary setback, that they'd be fine and he'd be there for her and the baby both, but he couldn't. Ri knew, because she tried to reassure him that Sterling would be back soon with some results and most likely another dozen tests to take.
"Stop blaming yourself, Ri," Gary managed softly, and toyed listlessly with the plastic wire running into his arm. The fluids were cool inside his arm, evidently a slight touch colder than he was. "I should've just told you I wasn't feeling well," he sighed out and tried to sit up a little and gave up the next second.
"Worse than hungover anyway," Gary mumbled, more to himself than anyone in particular.
The fever was doing his head in. Thinking had been a little terse and troublesome before the whole infection happened, but now it felt like the fever was truly setting in and obscuring what little clarity he'd regained since that first hospital visit. No, no that wasn't entirely correct. There'd been several days right after the accident he actually didn't remember at all, so it was still better than all that.
The pain was insistent now, and Gary tried to shift in hopes of getting more comfortable and failed. If it really was his leg, which it showed all likelihood of being, he wouldn't be able to escape the pain by something as simple as taking on a different posture. Gary sighed and pushed his head back into the pillow, both hot and cold at the same time as well. Hospital beds really didn't match up to their marital nest back at home.
"How long do you think it's for?" Gary offered up.
"Should call people again..." he said and closed his eyes. If he'd had trouble replying to messages then, he was sure to have them now. None of that was going to happen, was it? Gary thought he'd slept for a little while then, or maybe dozed off, because next thing he knew, a nurse was there to hang up another bag. She started to lay out some supplies. Gary pulled a face.
"What's that for?" he asked sourly.
Doctor Sterling was there too, overseeing the whole affair apparently.
"Antibiotics," he replied simply. "The x-ray shows several small shadows, indicative of a budding infection, Mister Jenkins," the doctor explained as the nurse put on gloves and prepared several things. The sheets were removed to expose his upper leg. The nurse offered him some pills.
"For the pain," she said. Gary didn't hesitate to take those. The pain had become grating.
"We're going to administer the drug as close to the affected area as we can to improve its effectiveness. Since this batch will be the first in a score, we will install a central line in your leg to simplify your treatment," the doctor started and together with the nurse, set to work to do just that. Gary was drained after the whole procedure and so the doctor turned to Ariana.
"We should see an improvement after the first round of treatment and hopefully that will prevent the need for operatively dealing with the infection," he advised her. "We will know more tomorrow. For now, your husband is to remain bed-bound."
Ariana nodded to the doctor, feeling like everything was going a bit too fast and she desperately wanting to slam on the brakes to this coaster for a second so she could catch up and try to work out what questions she wanted to ask. An infection, results and the thought of Gary being alone in a hospital once again turned her stomach, clenching down like a knot.
“Thank you.” Was all she could manage even though she was sure she should have been asking more questions. She watched Gary with the nurse, feeling like she was on the outside looking in at a fish bowl of events. Ariana looked as lost as she felt in the moment, bundled into a coat and evidently stricken by the thought of Gary being cooped up once more. She glanced to Sterling when he gestured she could go with Gary and she followed along the halls and to the shared room. No privacy, Gary was sure to love that. She waited outside the curtains for the nurses to be done. The nurses and doctors were all so calm, so collected and sincere in their approach. It was easy to fall under the guise that everything really was fine, when in actual fact it was not.
In the moment of separation, she managed to straighten some thoughts. He would need stuff for overnight, or maybe longer than overnight but prayed to every God she knew that it was just one night. His parents would need to be informed as soon as she actually knew what was going on. When Ariana was allowed to invade the little curtained cave, she settled her soft smile in place. It wasn’t genuine, but she was trying to mask worry and concern. Her eyes flickered to the thin line that dripped fluids into him and then to his form in the bed. It was eerie how similar it looked. Ariana sank into the chair beside the bed, plastic and uncomfortable but she didn’t care to complain. How could she? At least she was with him, for how much longer she wasn’t sure.
“Sterling said your results won’t be long.” She said to him, breaking the small silence as she rubbed her temples.
“Sorry- I should’ve figured something wasn’t right.” She said to him quietly, feeling truly guilty and useless but her concern for her husband overpowered all of that. She was afraid, above everything else, she was really scared that the good news they had celebrated in their own way, would be the last good news they received. She wished he had a room to himself instead of flimsy curtain barriers, where the hum of life outside could still be heard. She felt foolish, and like a child stripped from their favourite thing. And as much as she wanted to be strong and she would truly try to be for him, she was vulnerable. She was pregnant and Gary had a broken leg along with a lingering concussion and now to top it all off, an infection festered somewhere within him.
"We won't know until we get the results and run some further tests," the doctor replied patiently. Said further tests were going to be run quicker than Gary would like to have them, undoubtedly and Sterling didn't envy Gary's affliction. For a moment Mrs Jenkins was distracted by Gary, who had by now opened his eyes and was slowly coming to grips with the waking world. An overnight bag, yes, most likely. The doctor nodded with a smile and waited for the younger woman to bring order to the storm of thoughts preoccupying her mind right then.
"That seems consistent to the diagnosis. We'll take good care of your husband, Mrs Jenkins," the doctor reassured Ariana. A nurse came in, and she leaned over Gary, who was by then already somewhat awake.
"Has the doctor told you we're keeping you here for a while?" she asked gently.
Gary tried to find Ri's gaze, but it was obscured by the nurse and Gary took a deep breath. "I'm not surprised," he said at long last. The nurse was already coaxing him to sit up, hinting at the wheelchair that was readied up for him. Unlike before, when he'd come in through the trauma-bay, there was a strange calm about the medical team helping him this time.
Gary sat up and hopped from the bed to the chair with the nurse's aid.
Doctor Sterling put a heavy hand to his shoulder.
"I will come by as soon as the results are in," he promised. Gary nodded and blinked, caught by the speed with which the appointment had taken this unexpected turn.
"Ri?" Gary started, and the nurse paused for a moment. He didn't need whatever she was thinking of doing. Right now, he just wanted her to be there. Gary felt lost in a way his recovering brain couldn't quite deal with yet.
"Come along, I'll show you where the room is," the nurse said with a smile. Alice, her name turned out to be, when Gary did finally manage to focus on the name-tag for long enough. Her brown hair was trapped in a ponytail and her smile was sincere.
The doctor nodded that it was okay for Ariana to join her husband.
"We'll have the results in shortly, Mrs Jenkins," he told her and smiled reassuringly. Hopefully antibiotics would suffice in doing in the infection, if that was what it was. After suffering the open bone fracture in his leg however, there was hardly any doubt where Gary's infection was coming from.
Unlike before, the room was shared with several others. Gary was wheeled up to a bed and the nurse helped him remove his shoe, before she closed the curtains and brought out some scrubs. They wouldn't do anything to hide his modesty, but they'd make examining their patient a lot easier.
Another nurse stepped in to the privacy of the shielded off bed as Gary was settling in and took his temperature. Gary was just glad to be lying down, frankly, and let them fuss. Soon there was a male nurse, explaining slowly that he was going to hook him up to some liquids in preparation of the antibiotics he was supposed to be taking soon. It'd help bring his fever down as well, hopefully.
Ariana watched as Gary was poked and prodded, feeling as helpless as ever as she fidgeted slightly. Of course she wasn’t allowed to follow to the X-ray and so she waited, what else could she do? Hospitals had become the bearer of bad news lately, save for fluttering and strong heart of the infant she carried and she chewed at her bottom lip. Nerves were not something she dealt readily with, as time had proven over the past year. Sterling was calm and collected though, she could admit that much and it was reassuring to her to know at least someone was calm within the turmoil.
She looked to Gary when he returned and then to Doctor Sterling as he spoke. Infection? From where? She looked over to Gary, a glimmer of worry rife in her eyes as she swallowed thickly. And they didn’t know what sort of infection either, so was it serious or not?
“Is it serious?” She managed to ask, although the words fell from her lips and it was like she couldn’t hear herself saying them. Her eyes went back to Sterling. An infection would explain Gary’s discomfort and his snappy attitude and she almost felt bad for getting irritated with him. She knew how bad infections could get and it sent of alarm bells in her head like nothing else. She sank a little further in the chair and kept her attention as focused as she could. Questions flooded her mind and she wasn’t sure where to start without sounding like a bubbling mess. Was he going to be okay?
Eerily it felt like they were back to square one with Gary in hospital and she had awful déjà vu of him after the accident, stuck in a hospital bed and not knowing what would happen and he had been vulnerable. Perhaps he still was vulnerable and Ariana had overlooked all of that, passing it off as a hangover.
“I should get him an overnight bag.” She said, her thoughts transpiring to out loud words. And then his parents would need to know but somehow ‘Happy new year, your son is in hospital again’ didn’t seem right. She steadied the train that was her thoughts and let her eyes rest on Gary. Maybe going out at New Years was a bad decision. Then again she knew she couldn’t let this chew away at her like a disease.
“He hasn’t eaten.” She said to the doctor,
“Barely drank much for the past couple of days.” She added as an afterthought, realising she was perhaps rambling more than she intended to at that point.
It'd be alright. Gary wanted to believe that, but he didn't have the energy to care right then. The receptionist called out his name and gestured down the hallway for them to go to room three. Pride forsaken, Gary allowed Ri to help him up out of the seat, but he pushed on to get himself into the examination room as good and bad as he could. Inside, the doctor was already tapping away at something on his screen. Gary sank down with a grimace, which got him the man's attention.
"Mister Jenkins," he greeted and Gary freed a hand from his crutch to shake the man's hand.
"Sterling, right?" Gary ventured. The man who'd done the surgery on him.
Doctor Sterling smiled at Gary and nodded, "good of you to remember," he complimented. "You were done in pretty badly by your concussion when we met." The doctor gave Gary a keep look, suspicion rising.
Gary just smiled wanly.
"Why don't we start your checkup?" Sterling offered and gestured at the examination table. Gary rolled his eyes and clambered back to a stand to sit down on the table. The doctor took his crutches and motioned for Gary to sit up straight. Warm hands felt underneath his jaw, then shifted to take his pulse.
Gary nodded faintly, "my leg," he said softly.
A nod. A thermometer was pushed at his ear and beeped a second or two later. Sterling had a serious expression on his face.
"Any other symptoms? Headaches? Nausea?"
"Nausea," Gary had to admit.
Sterling nodded, a suspicion rising up. He sighed deeply and gestured at the bed. "Lay back down," Sterling offered, felt around his cast leg and returned to the computer to type some things in. Gary couldn't help it, but resting back on the bed was a cold relief after his leg was finally left alone
"I think it's time we get a picture taken of your leg," Sterling started, "I'll have a nurse bring around a wheelchair." He then started to get out some supplies, amongst which a needle. Gary glanced at the items with only mild curiosity.
"And I'll need to take a sample of your blood," the doctor explained. "Just to rule out some of what might make you feel under the weather." After a few minutes, Sterling walked away with a vial of his blood and Gary rested back holding a cotton ball against his exposed vein. A nurse came in to take the sample and had left behind a wheelchair. Gary felt like time was doing that thing again, whereby seconds became minutes and minutes turned to seconds. Tracking time was an arduous chore, so he gave up. Soon, he found himself in the wheelchair, being carted off to radiology.
Taking the pictures didn't take long. He was admonished to lay still, but Gary wouldn't think twice about moving if he didn't have to. After a few minutes, he was wheeled back to the examination room, which had since grown devoid of one doctor Sterling. The nurse helped him back on the examination table and made sure he was reasonably comfortable. The wait was on.
Gary was pretty sure he'd fallen asleep somewhere, because next he knew, doctor Sterling was there, talking to a nurse. Ri was there too. It'd gotten warmer since he'd arrived.
"We're going to keep your husband over night," doctor Sterling told Ariana. "Unfortunately my suspicions appear founded, which means to say Gary has an infection," he explained. "It seems we caught it relatively early. I will consult with the radiologist and as soon as the blood-cultures may tell us what type of infection we're dealing with, we will decide on what steps to take next."
Ariana followed Gary's path, offering small gestures of help where she could and where he accepted them but given his mood earlier, she didn't dare to push it. She glanced to him as he asked which doctor and she shrugged, not knowing in all honesty. Radiology, that was bones and things.
"I'm not sure." She said to him softly, not wanting to be too harsh or bold in her voice. She got the feeling she was just getting on his nerves today and it was only natural, she supposed. She settled beside him in the seat and eyed the immaculately clean floors and she could smell the disinfectant. At least Gary had thrown up the tea and she was grateful for that, and she was sure he was too. She was nervous and it was a dead giveaway as she fiddled aimlessly with the hem of her coat, not feeling the heat the same way as Gary, evidently.
Ariana shifted her gaze to her husband.
"It'll be alright." She said quietly, comforting him as best she could but she was still nervous, she was still walking on eggshells around him. She could deal with him being irritable at her and snapping at her, but it didn't mean it cut any less though. She finally let go of the hem, letting the fabric drop back into place as she eyed the nurses and doctors scurrying from this place to that, chatting and smiling. It was strange to her and if she had any say in the matter she would much prefer to have their child somewhere different. But that wasn't her call. That choice had been removed from her. She didn't get a say anymore and instead it would be doctors and nurses and clinical smells, but if it meant bringing living and breathing life into this world then so be it.
Ariana closed her eyes and just straightened her thoughts. However, her head snapped up and her eyes flashed open when a sweet little receptionist gestured.
"Jenkins. Room 3, down the hall on your right." She said it like it was the stairway to heaven and Ariana stood, helping Gary and looking down the corridor. It had to be positive news right? Ariana held the door for Gary before following him in and sitting down opposite the doctor who was tapping away at his screen.
Gary had managed a few meagre sips of the hot tea when Ri finally decided to speak. Go? Oh yeah, go to the appointment. He nodded and left the tea out after a short nod, searching for a shoe to wear and a coat to cover his hoodie. Once he had, Gary followed Ri outside and into the car. It was quiet, always that dreaded silence. Gary suspected he was to blame for this one, but couldn't bother feeling guilty for bringing on the situation. Moist eyes stared out over the roads, only coming to life when the hospital was already well in sight. Gary half-heartedly struggled to get out of the car and made his slow way into the warm building. It was actually quite comfortable inside for once, rather than overly warm. The lady behind the desk just glanced up and Gary leaned on the desk for a second. A checkup. But with whom?
"Uhm, I've got an appointment, I think," he muttered softly.
"Jenkins," he supplied after scanning her questioning face. The lady put something into the computer and pointed down at the elevators.
"Second floor, near radiology," she advised and gave Gary a good once-over. Gary merely nodded his thanks and then began the slow journey to the upper floors. Radiology, that made sense. They'd probably want to take pictures to see whether the bones had set properly and whatnot.
Gary leaned against the elevator's wall and sighed out. His stomach had not improved with the tea, but neither had it come back up, for which he was remotely grateful.
As an after-though, Gary reached over and pressed what floor he needed to be at. The elevator was slow. People came on at the first floor and wanted out at the second. Gary too moved to the front, slow on his crutches. Another desk awaited them down the hall and Gary surmised that was the way he needed to go.
"What doctor do we even need to be at?" he asked Ariana.
Back when they'd made the appointment, he'd been less with things than he felt even now. He liked to believe that at least the concussion was dissipating. Or the fog that'd prevented memories from being made maybe, because phones and small gadgets were still annoying to look at.
Gary figured that'd be one to ask after.
He found a row of seats and gave in. Just that short trek had him beat already for some reason. His skin was pale and his breathing a bit too fast. The heat from before was now becoming overbearing. Gary pulled down the zipper on his coat and waved some air underneath the fabric. He didn't even know what they were doing here. He ought to be back home, tucked in bed, recovering. Surely they could've skipped or postponed this checkup?
Ariana fell silent at his words, not in an angry way more in a complying way. She eventually shifted and made herself scarce, opting for a shower if only to keep out his way. He obviously didn’t want pried at and she wasn’t helping, even though felt useless not being able to do anything. She washed her hair and did feel marginally better when she stepped out the shower and redressed. She didn’t bother with makeup, figuring it was best to let her skin breathe for now at least. Ariana made herself busy, making the bed and tidying up the room a little figuring after the appointment Gary would just want to go to bed, regardless of the news was in their favour or not.
Ariana closed the bedroom door to dry her hair, wary the noise would cause further insult to injury to Gary as she ran her fingers through her damp hair. Maybe it was a day for less talking, given it was the talking that seemed to be grating at him, or just her presence in general. She checked the time when she was finished up, she figured they’d need to leave soon and she set the hairdryer aside and pulled on some shoes, trainers proved more comfortable than boots right then. She took a deep breath before heading downstairs.
She didn’t expect to see Gary awake or even up at the kettle but there he was. She kept quiet as she shifted to the couch and eyed the television, pondering on what he was watching. Then again he likely wasn’t really watching it. She shifted some hair out her face and glanced to Gary. She’d never seen him hungover like this so she doubted this was a simple hangover, he was probably tired and sore and she figured he was right. A nagging wife didn’t make his situation any easier but she didn’t let the words fall from her mouth, it would only serve to poke the bear that slept within him today. She just sat in the quiet for a while, turning her eyes outside as the rain simmered down to the odd pitter patter now and then.
She knew they couldn’t leave it any later and within a short while, she got up and grabbed her coat, buttoning it up and tying her hair back from her face as she grabbed the keys and looked to Gary.
“Sorry, we should go.” She said to him quietly, holding the door and then doing the same with the car door as she settled in the drivers seat and put the heating on given it was chilly. For the most part she was quiet and she had turned the radio down in case it bit at his nerves as well.
Gary looked Ri over, decided to say something about her waking up and how even awake people apparently created life-threatening accidents, but held his tongue in the end. For a while only Ariana’s morning-routine could be heard. Gary had zoned out when she put some toast in front of him. Even the scent made him swallow in repulsion.
He shook his head. Whatever Ri liked or didn’t like, it wasn’t going to stay in his stomach if he tried to force himself now.
Apparently Ri caught on to his plight.
Gary took a deep breath, “no,” he said. They already had the appointment set in a few hours, so what was the point? There was nothing Ariana could do. Sleep. Ugh. He hadn’t been able to last night, so why would it be any different now? Regardless, he felt drained and tired.
“I said no,” Gary repeated. “It’s fine, just leave me be,” he said tersely. Gary closed his eyes and tried to rest, but the discomfort was keeping him up despite feeling drained and deflated. And then he still had the appointment to go through. Gary wasn’t sure how he felt about that. It was reassuring, in a way, but also worrying. He didn’t want to worry Ri, but he felt worse than the day before, when he’d been nursing a hangover. Gary wasn’t used to feeling this way. He was usually quick to bounce back from these types of things.
Time did a funny hop-over where it would refuse to move, slow as syrup at one time and then skip whole hours the next. Gary thought he might’ve slept a little then and as the day wore on he felt a little better, but his leg hurt still and the familiar shivers of fever threatened to contract the muscles in his back. He moved sluggishly to gather the blanket from the back of the couch and huddled underneath.
Bored, Gary took up his phone, but found that none of the small digits would stay still long enough to read clearly and gave up on that endeavour fairly quickly. At long last, he switched on the television and zoned out watching that. The food he’d left untouched and he knew that was no good. Ri was probably right in saying he ought to try at least a little something.
All his motivation died down at the very thought of consuming anything. Tea, maybe. Gary grabbed his crutch and moved laboriously to facilitate the one thing he thought might stay down. He rested his forehead against the kitchen cabinet while he waited for the kettle to boil. It’d be time to leave soon and he wasn’t looking forward to it.
Ariana was caught off guard by Gary's snapping response that she sort of just looked at him. She motioned to the glass in her hand,
"I was going to have a drink first." She explained and sighed out softly, just shrugging at his apology. She figured, or rather she hoped, it was the concussion causing him to lash out. She drained the juice and got up, removing herself from the situation before further injury could be inflicted. Toast would be the best option and chewed her lip.
"M'alright. Really, I'll be fine when I wake up." She assured him. She wasn't about to abandon him to the hospital's mercy. He had been there for her, and so she would do the same. Sometimes it felt like she was tiptoeing around a sleeping lion when Gary was irritable but she figured even sleeping lions had to eat.
A single slice of toast with some jam on top was set on the table for him.
"You don't have to eat it, but I'd like you to try." She said to him gently before taking a seat and picking at her own toast. It took longer than was necessary for her to eat the toast but she did manage it. She didn't speak for a while, just keeping quiet in case she said the wrong thing that would earn her a tongue lashing from her sore husband. She was sorry he was in pain, she could see he was in pain and she couldn't take it away. She wished she could. But she couldn't.
"Can I do anything?" She eventually asked him, sparing a small look to him.
"For the pain, I mean. If you want some more sleep I can leave you upstairs. I won't be there to fidget or anything." She said and brandished a hand towards the staircase. Even if he wanted to sleep on the couch, she would be quiet and still.
Ariana found herself looking forwards to the appointment now. Maybe they could give him something to ease the pain more, take the edge off perhaps. Or maybe this was just part of the healing process, doctors didn't hand out painkillers so readily these days thanks to addictions and the likes. Ariana set her plate on the table and leaned back. It was really going to be a long day, she could feel it in her bones. She knew it wasn't Gary's fault and everything seemed to just happen at once almost, the pregnancy and the accident combined for a disaster of emotions but they had gotten this far and Ariana wasn't ready to give up just yet.
"Hey," Gary said, shaken from his daze by Ri's arrival. She'd surprised him a little and hazy eyes regarded her form; she looked comfortable inside her large jumper and Gary wanted nothing more than to just burrow close to her.
"Hmm," he acknowledged they'd both had a restless night and directed his eyes back to the television. His eyes lost focus as soon as he did and Gary just sat there for a while until Ariana's voice broke through the haze.
"No," he said curtly. "I'm not hungry. Did you?" Gary snapped and looked over. Angry was an emotion that cost a lot of energy, but he was moody and terse. After another second Gary rubbed at his face and brushed his hair back. Sweat gathered at the back of his neck, making his perch on the couch an uncomfortable one. Shifting didn't help anything either. In fact, each time he moved, his leg protested with a violent stab of pain shooting up all the way until his hip.
Ariana's lack of confidence bugged him too, but Gary knew better and just clenched his jaw tightly. He wasn't well and he didn't want to acknowledge that he wasn't or give in to it. They couldn't afford him to have a set-back when Ri was going through things with the pregnancy. He needed to be there, protect her, not the other way around.
Gary sighed out.
"Sorry," he said softly and waved away any excuse that he could've thought up. It wouldn't readily bubble up and so Gary gave up trying before he got a headache on top of everything. Actually, he probably did, but it was hard to tell because all the other aches and pains were so overwhelmingly present.
Ri looked tired as well. Gary surmised that his own restlessness had likely influenced her night-time experience too, so perhaps he was partly to blame for her drowsiness.
"My parents could take me," Gary suggested. He didn't want to bother Ariana too much and driving in the snow slush littering the streets while she was tired posed a greater risk than any pregnancy related symptoms. Or maybe he was over-thinking things.
"If you're tired," he offered. The appointment wouldn't be for another few hours. Another shift of his leg made him wince involuntarily and Gary hissed as the pain died back down. After last night's pills, he'd decided to forego on them for a while, but he regretted that decision now. It hadn't helped clear the hazy film covering his waking thought and the pain offered a greater distraction than the drowsiness from the painkillers could.
Given sleep was a fickle mistress, it was unsurprising Ariana slept a little later than usual, eventually awakening to the world with a grumble, hand reaching out to grab at... empty space? She hoped her restlessness hadn’t kept Gary awake but she somehow guessed it might have. For a few moments, she stared in a sort of hazy half awake and half asleep state before pushing herself to sit up. She sighed out and let a yawn escape her. Where had her husband escaped off to? She immediately regretted leaving the sanctuary of the burrow of blankets. It was cold, or possibly down to her lack of weight and clothing as her exposed legs led her to some jeans and a fluffy and baggy jumper.
She brushed out her hair and it took her a while to catch up. Right, hospital today. Maybe that was why Gary had skittered off somewhere. She ran a hand through her freshly brushed hair and gave herself a moment to wake up. A general freshen up seemed to wake her up a bit more as she padded downstairs, looking to Gary on the couch. Had he eaten? He hadn’t eaten since... before Lisa’s party? She sighed and she knew better than to push him on it right then.
“Hey.” She said to him as she fixed herself some juice, not fancying anything hot right then. She didn’t much want anything to eat either so instead surrendered to the couch and glanced to Gary.
“Sorry if I kept you up. I couldn’t get comfortable last night.” She said to him, it wasn’t a whole lie at least. But she doubted he wanted to hear about how she was worried about his appointment.
Gary looked tired, she surmised as she looked over him with her green eyes. He looked rough as well but not just hangover rough.
“Have you eaten anything?” She dared to ask. She didn’t want to give him an interrogation but she did know he had to at least try to eat. Even just a little before the appointment. All Ariana wanted to do was sleep which was typical, sleep evaded her at every turn last night and now in the cold light of day it was all she wanted. She cosied down in her jumper and took a sip from the juice. She shifted some hair from her face and let her thumbs stroke the glass experimentally as she clutched it.
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