Friday, September 3, 2010

Chapter 29

wow...we're really flying now huh?

“What happened? How is she?” Sid skidded around the corner with Max, Jordan and Flower close on his heels, his phone still in his hand. All of the boys were still in their suits, having come straight from the airport.

“Her blood pressure spiked, there was some bleeding,” Tabby’s friend Trina replied in a matter-of-fact tone of voice from where she stood beside the hospital bed. “They have her on Nifedipine and magnesium sulfate to stop the contractions.”

“Contractions?” Sid stared down at the text he’d received as the plane had landed. It still read Tabby’s at Sewickley Valley Hospital. Come as soon as you can.

“There was a girl…a woman, I guess…I mean, really she was more of a tramp,” Mel began only to be cut off by Trina, who’s arms were crossed and she was wearing a scowl on her face that said that she was ready to defend her friend, which meant somehow he had done something wrong.

“This whore was waiting at the house, with a baby in a stroller and some papers requesting child support. You can see how that might be upsetting,” Trina hissed, tilting her head to one side and regarding him with pursed lips that said she wanted to say more but wouldn’t because of the very still form swaddled in the blankets on the bed between the raised security bars with wires running from at least half a dozen places on her chest and an ominous looking belt strapped across her belly with some kind of monitoring device on it. Her face was turned away from his. Sid felt a tightening in his chest. He had hardly been able to breathe the entire way here and it hadn’t just been Max’s driving that had his own blood pressure sky rocketing. But now…now he was scared.

“I don’t…that can’t be right,” he muttered, but it wasn’t as hard as it should have been for his imagination to conjure up visions of a line of women with bundles of joy waiting for him with orders for payment in their hands, except…. “Tabby was the first woman I ever had unprotected sex with.” He looked pleadingly towards the two women who were standing on the other side of the hospital bed beside the monitors that were emitting beeping and chirping noises that were starting to make his head hurt. Her friends looked back at him with cold expressions.

“You said first…so there have been others?” Her more diminutive friend asked after a stretch of charged silence. The back of Sid’s neck itched.

“To quote Ross Geller, they were on a break,” Max interjected, though Sidney shot him a warning look. That wasn’t going to help and it wasn’t even a good excuse.

“After she…when we broke up…I was angry, I was hurt,” he tried to explain, rubbing at the spot at the back of his neck that felt like it had been zapped with an electrical charge.

“You said there was un bébé, un enfant reel?” MAF asked quietly, rubbing thoughtfully at his soul patch as he regarded the women on the other side of the room seriously. Both nodded as they turned their attention to the lean goalie. “If Sidney says he did not sleep with anyone before Tabitha, then cet enfant cannot be his. Le calcul ne fonctionne pas.”

“He’s right,” Max agreed, a little too enthusiastically. “If she was un des ces putains he’s been with, then she would have been less pregnant than Tabs, not more.”

“Don’t help guys,” Sidney breathed, his gut lurching into his throat at the thought of that dark time and the things he did. He hadn’t been proud of it then. He was sick to his stomach at the thought of it now.

“How many?” It took a moment for him to realize where the voice was coming from. It was muffled and seemed almost disembodied but the cool gazes of her two friends told him that it had been neither of them that had posed the question. “How many have there been?” she asked again, this time turning to face him with exhausted, red rimmed eyes.

“Guys, can we have some privacy?” he asked softly, pleading silently with her for the chance to explain, even though he didn’t feel like there was going to be words enough to deserve her forgiveness.

For a moment, just hearing his voice had made her feel calmer, made her think things were going to be alright. But then she remembered the woman looking at her with shrewd eyes that seemed to know too much and in her mind’s eye she saw her thin red lips forming her own name and her threatened tightened around the huge ball of emotion that was restricting her breathing. She heard the beeps and chirps on the machines quicken. They seemed to get louder and she tried to remind herself to breathe slowly and deeply. Closing her eyes she imagined the child within her and told herself to relax, for him.

“I’ll make a call,” he was saying as she heard the footsteps of their friends retreating out into the hall. “I’ll get the gate done today and we’ll get a security company to have someone outside the gates,” he was promising, but Tabby squeezed her eyes shut against the sorrow in his voice and the way it was making her feel, like that mattered. Like that could somehow undo what had already been done.

“How many Sidney?” she asked again, opening her eyes, though they stung from the tears she’d shed. Tears for herself, for fear of losing their child, of having lost him already, or at least the part of him that felt special to her, that she had naively believed was hers’.

“I don’t know,” he replied hoarsely, moving closer, until he was almost at her bedside, but not quite, like he was afraid to come closer to all the wires and all the machines, or maybe to her.

“Two? Ten?” she asked as tears welled in her eyes. Not that it mattered, she told herself, if it was one or twenty-one. The result was still the same.

“I don’t know,” he repeated, “maybe five…six, I don’t know. I wasn’t counting,” he muttered, his head hung low, shoulders drooping and the tips of his ears were bright red. At least he had the capacity to be ashamed.

“I don’t even care that you did…what you did,” she told him, though her voice felt and sounded strangled by that damned ball of emotion in her throat. “I can’t believe you’d risk not just me but our child.” She barely got the word out before it was chased by a sob.

“I’m sorry,” he managed, reaching over the safety bar that was there to stop her from rolling out of bed she supposed. He grabbed her hand, and clutched it hard, maybe too hard. It felt like the bones in her hand were being crushed to a fine powder but that didn’t hurt as much as the thought of some kind of petulance, some form of plague hiding in her body, eating at their child.

“It’s not just the clap or gonorrhea,” she sniffed, looking up into his gold flecked eyes to find tears brimming in his eyes as well. “It’s HIV…AIDS. Maybe you don’t care about yourself but…the baby….” Her free hand had not left the swell of her stomach since the cramps had started after watching that woman go. She willed him to kick and felt an answering roll and stretch that eased her overwhelming fear, for a moment at least.

“I care,” he insisted, his eyes wide and pleading, a single tear sliding down his cheek as his other hand wrapped around the hand that she was sure he was breaking. “I’ll take any test you want, I’m clean, I promise. I wouldn’t do that, ever. I love you,” he added more quietly, “both of you.” His gaze slid to her stomach, for a moment, and then, as his gaze met hers again, his eyes were wild with fear. “Is…is everything alright?” For a brief, dark moment, it occurred to Tabby that she could hurt him if she lied. She could tell him no, that everything was definitely not alright. She could tell him that they’d lost the baby. That maybe then he’d understand how she felt. But she could not, would not tempt fate that way.

“They say it will be okay, if I rest and,” she added, steeling her gaze and raising her chin, “if I don’t have any more shocks. Will I, do you think?” He shook his head, vehemently, in denial, but when she raised her eyebrows at him he shrugged.

“I guess I can’t promise that…but…,” he dropped his gaze from hers and sighed. “I’m sorry. It’s bad enough when shit like this happens to me but I didn’t prepare you for this and even though I’m sure, sure that it’s not true…I’m still sorry.”

“She knew my name Sidney,” she said quietly, her voice small and almost indistinct because it was the hardest thing to say. It was the part that made her the most afraid that it was all true. He raised his gaze, fear infusing his eyes with panic. “Why did she know my name?”


He didn’t know how to answer that question. He knew the answer to the question, just not how to explain it without making it sound seedy and repulsive, which it was. To sleep with other women, random strangers and to pretend that they were her…as if she could be replaced, his stomach heaved.

He could lie, say he didn’t know but there was already too much of that between them, a wall that he had only begun to break down, that he’d only started to be able to see over to that sweetness, that innocence that they’d shared in the summer. If he lied now, if he added to the lies he’d told, the half truths and the omissions he’d told himself weren’t as bad as lies, he’d only be adding more building blocks to the wall, making it higher and more impossible to get over.

“If I did sleep with her…,” his voice trailed off as anger and mistrust flickered in her dark eyes. If…he shook his head. That made it sound like he doubted the truth of it. Dissembling, wasn’t that just as much of a lie? “Some of the girls…the women I fucked, because that was all that it was, fucking, meaningless one night stands.” He held her gaze, hoping she could see the truth in his eyes and hear that he meant every word. “Some of them I asked them…I told them that I was going to call them your name. I wanted them to be you.” His voice faltered. It had made sense to him at the time. It had even seemed like some kind of romantic notion that she might appreciate. It was clear in the curl of her lip and the flare of her delicate nostrils that she didn’t find the idea at all romantic.

She turned her face away from him and with a tug, let him know that she didn’t want him to hold her hand. With regret, he let her hand go and watched it slide over her stomach, and he couldn’t help but wonder if their son was kicking, moving in ways that she could feel beneath her fingertips. He longed to put his hands beside hers’ to feel what she was feeling. Instead, he curled his fingers around the safety rail until his knuckles turned white.

“I don’t think I can do this,” she said after a long, unbearable silence. “I don’t think I can ignore those kinds of…indiscretions.” She said the word like it tasted bad, like she was spitting it out on the sidewalk. He held his breath as she turned her dark, tear filled eyes to face him. “I don’t know how they do it, Vero, Michelle…all the others. I don’t know how they forgive you…I don’t think I can,” she added, her gaze holding his long enough that he knew there was going to be no way of arguing his way out of this. Not that he was sure he could. What argument could he use? He’d never been sure of how some of the other guys went back to their wives as if nothing had happened. How they picked up their kids with the hands that had touched another woman? He’d never intended to be that guy. He didn’t feel like he was but he could understand how she would. “Even if, realistically, I know the math is wrong, that is, if I trust what you’ve said and that you didn’t make a mistake before me…before us,” her mouth curled up a little at the corners, almost like she still liked the idea of ‘us’. It gave him a brief glimmer of hope. “I know that it will happen again. Other women will come and say the same thing and next time I won’t know…I’ll never know for sure.”

She turned her face away and he heard her sob and it took every ounce of will power he had not to climb over the safety rail and gather her into his arms and promise her the world if she would only just forgive him this one time. She wouldn’t want him to do that, he knew, even as the bar bit into the palms of his hands as he squeezed them ever tighter around it and he wasn’t sure that he’d be able to keep the promises he’d make. If he’d been able to give up on them so easily once, if he’d been so quick to try and replace her once, he might do it again. Even if he thought he wouldn’t. Even if he felt sure he could resist every temptation, knowing that he’d been doing it for years, could he be one hundred per cent sure it would never, ever happen?

“Please,” he whispered, forcing his voice past the constriction in his throat that he thought might be his heart trying to climb out to spill itself onto the bed, for her. “Please Tabs…please.” He wanted to say ‘please forgive me’ but he couldn’t even forgive himself, so how could he ask her to forgive him? He wanted to say ‘please love me’ but in this moment he hated himself, so why should she love him? He wanted to say ‘please give me another chance’ but this had been a second chance and he’d lied, or at least he hadn’t told her the truth and wasn’t that the same thing? He didn’t deserve any of those things, so all he could say was ‘please’ and know that he meant all of those things.

“Just go,” she whispered, her face still turned away, but he didn’t need to see it to know that she was crying. He could see her shoulders shaking, her chest rising and falling as she pulled in ragged breaths. The monitors began to squeal and he watched as the lines began to spike and climb and fear froze him to the spot.

“No,” he sobbed, grabbing for her hand. “I told you, no one is going to take you from me and I meant it,” he added in a hoarse whisper as nurses began to fill the room, as he heard them calling for an attending, as he watched them analyzing the printouts from the machines that were monitoring her heart and the baby’s. “I’m not going anywhere,” he promised, even when a nurse shooed him from the room, giving him that look that said she thought he’d caused this, that this was entirely his fault and how could he argue that? It was, it was completely his fault.


Tabby felt like she’d run a marathon. Every bone and muscle in her body ached. Worst of all, her head was pounding. One of the nurses said that the headache was a direct result of her high blood pressure. She’d also promised that one of the medications they were currently pumping into her veins through the i.v. was going to make it better.

She stared up at the ceiling and counted the tiles. Fourty-two. Two of them were cracked. Nearly all of them had some kind of stain on them. She wondered how many of those stains were blood and how many of them were worse than that, other human bodily fluids that made her stomach heave, threatening to spill its contents which wasn’t much more than a few crackers and some rubbery lime flavored Jello. She wondered if they served that in the hospital because they got a discount on it, because no one ever buys lime Jello?

“Twins.” She said it out loud and it still didn’t sound real. She ran her hands over each side of her stomach and closed her eyes. “Twins,” she said it again and felt a smile tug at the corners of her mouth. They hadn’t given her a picture, like they had the first time, but she could still see the two sets of hands, the two feet, two bodies curled around one another like yin and yang.

They’d missed it the first time, the doctor had explained, probably because they’d been in line with one another, one hiding behind the other, their hearts beating in unison. She liked that thought; two little boys, each one defending and supporting the other, a defensive pair.

“They…a nurse told me we’re having twins.”

Tabby looked over at the doorway to where Sidney was standing, his charcoal suit rumpled, like he’d slept in it, his hair equally bedraggled, like he’d been pulling at it, his tie loose like a noose around his neck waiting to be tugged tight.

“That’s what they say,” she replied in a whisper, half relieved to see him, half angry that he still looked handsome despite the fact that he looked as if he could almost pass for homeless even though the suit was expensive. The tie alone was worth at least a hundred bucks.

“The nurse told me that they’re going to be okay,” he added, looking towards her hopefully, like he needed confirmation.

“As long as I keep my blood pressure down,” she replied, unable to make herself frown threateningly like she wanted to. He really was too damn good looking, even now when he was looking even younger than he was, hesitant and scared. Reaching out, she offered her hand and watched relief break across his handsome features as he crossed the floor in three strides. Taking her hand in both of his, he fell to his knees and pressed his forehead against the back of her hand.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered, his voice rough rasping with emotion.

“I know,” she smiled while tears welled in her eyes as she reached over to ruffle his hair with the fingertips of her free hand.

“If I lost you…any of you…,” his voice trailed away as he turned his imploring gaze up to meet hers’. She could only nod. When the room had been full of doctors and nurses, strangers poking and prodding her, talking over her, through her, she’d wanted him. She’d wanted his hand to hold. She’d wanted him to tell her it was going to be okay. She’d wanted to look into his hazel eyes and see what she could see now, and she knew…this is how they do it. This is how they forgive them, because they love them.

“I guess you can’t get rid of me that easily,” she told him, brushing her hand down his face until he caught that one in his hand and kissed each knuckle before turning her hands over and pressing his lips to the center of each palm.

“I don’t want to get rid of you,” he whispered fiercely as he turned his eyes up to her again. “I love you,” he added in the same ferocious tone.

“I love you too,” she whispered back, pulling his hand up to her mouth and pressing her lips to the back of his hand as he got back to his feet.

“I want this to work,” he told her, still holding fast to both of her hands and giving each a firm squeeze. “I’ll do anything,” he added and the ardent look in his eyes told her that he meant it. Just for a moment she wondered if castration was too much to ask and then decided against it. She liked that part of him too much for that.

“Not that I want you to…you know…roam,” she couldn’t help but smile as she said it, though she was deadly serious, “but if you do, just be honest with me. No secrets. No more secrets,” she added just for clarification.

“I know you have no reason to believe me,” he sighed, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath before he opened those hazel orbs and focused them on her full force, “but I don’t want anyone but you Tabs. Since the first day I saw you in that bait shop, I haven’t wanted anything or anyone else but you.” He let go of her hands, but not before pressing another kiss to each of her hands. Tabby watched him quizzically while he searched his pockets until he found a small, slightly crushed, worn looking velvet box. Her breath caught in her throat. “I’ve been carrying this around with me since the day we broke up,” he told her, opening the small box and withdrew a small, elegant looking ring from it. He held it up between his forefinger and thumb and then reached for her hand with his. “Tabitha King, marry me and be mine forever.”


  1. awe twins... its about time they he asked!!

  2. Thanks for all the updates!!! They have been great..... but this one was the best!

    But did I miss something - do they know for sure that the twins are both boys?

  3. Ohhhhh Jesus what's she gonna say?!?!?!?!

  4. Yay!! He asked!!! Yay!! Twins!!!!

  5. I'm glad that he asked, can't wait to see what she says!

  6. Um, I have nothing constructive at all to say except holy mother of GOD that was well written. Soul crushing and heart warming and totally believable. qfd, I could certainly get used to this back to back to back stuff. :)

  7. i wish the kids where both boys cuz im tired of seeing on with one girl and one boy!!! so far soo good i dnt think shell say yes only bc of the events that happened

  8. Aweeeeee! Yeah I'm with the above I really don't think she's going to say yes. Even though he did sleep around while they weren't technically together being on a break isn't really being broken up. So he was still cheating. That's a big thing to get over if you ever really can. I don't think I would be able to.

  9. That was such a heavy chapter! OMG! But VERY good! Hopefully they'll be ready for two babies when they come! :) I can't wait to hear what Tabby says! :)

  10. I'm hoping for twin girls!

  11. Awe! Twins! =-)
    I hope it is one of each. Boy & Girl!

    Great Chapter!

    Yes,he finally asked!

  12. i wish it was both boys i am tierd of seeing one boy one girl ughghh pls update soon

  13. omg pls update i have just started reading your story and sooo far i am LOOOVVVIIINNNGGG ITTT i agree with the above your need to start a new trend BOTH BOYS!!!lol