My Happy Ending – Chapter 18

“I can’t seem to make out a heartbeat.” Dr. Reynolds said as Nick and Ashleigh sat before her.

“What?!” Ashleigh asked, terrified. Everything had been going so well! Instinctively, she reached for Nick’s hand and held it tightly.

“It’s probably nothing to worry about.” Dr. Reynolds tried to reassure them. “I’m going to send you for an ultrasound just to be sure.” She said, giving Ashleigh a small smile and stepping out of the room for a moment.

Ashleigh gave Nick a look of horror and nearly started hyperventilating. This was certainly not the type of stress she needed. Hell, she didn’t need any type of stress! Not after what she’d gone through a few months prior.

“It’s going to be okay.” Nick said, running his hands over Ashleigh’s hair. “Don’t worry about it.” He said, though he wasn’t so sure himself. If everything was truly fine, wouldn’t the doctor be able to hear a heartbeat? He tried not to think about it too much, and attempted to stay as calm as possible. There was no sense in the both of them worrying.

Half an hour later, the two of them sat in the ultrasound room, Nick held Ashleigh’s hand throughout the entire process. The two of them kept exchanging worried glances. The technicians didn’t say much to them, they basically kept quiet for the most part. This was another fact that alarmed Ashleigh to no end. If everything was okay, they wouldn’t have hesitated to tell her so, right?

After being told that the doctor would be in with their results shortly, the only thing Ashleigh and Nick could do was wait.

“It’s bad news.” Ashleigh muttered, staring down at the ground. “I know it’s bad news. If things were find they would have said they were fine, but they didn’t say anything…” She trailed off, looking at Nick with pleading eyes. It was almost as if she was willing him to make everything better.

Nick stayed silent for a moment. He wanted to reassure Ashleigh, but at the same time he didn’t exactly want to give her false hope. “Just wait until we hear what Dr. Reynolds has to say before you start to get worried.” He advised, though it didn’t do much to ease his own doubts.

“How can I not get worried, Nick?” Ashleigh asked, her voice rising with panic.

Nick just looked at her sadly. There really was no way to get either for them to stop worrying. Not until they were told that everything was fine.

Something told Nick that wasn’t going to happen. Not when Dr Reynolds walked back into the room with a solemn look on her face.

“I’m so, so sorry.” She said, sitting down beside Ashleigh.

“No…” Ashleigh whispered. How could this be happening? She’d done everything she was told to do, and as far as she’d known everything had been fine. Sure, she’d been under quite a bit of stress earlier on, but she’d been for check ups many times since then and had been told she was alright.

Nick put his hand over his mouth and just stared at Dr. Reynolds as if he were begging her to tell them something different. That this was a joke, that their child was fine.

“I can’t even begin to imagine how awful this must be for you…” She started, but Ashleigh wasn’t listening anymore. She’d heard all she needed to hear. As far as she was concerned, she’d failed as a mother before she’d even had the chance to try. There really wasn’t anything that could be said that would make her feel any better.

Nick however, listened to every word. It was the only thing he could do, as he didn’t know what he was supposed to or say. They were going to prep Ashleigh for surgery… and she was going to deliver that day. What should have been a joyous occasion was quickly turning into a nightmare.

“Oh God, oh God.” Ashleigh sobbed, clinging to Nick. He just sat there in shock, putting his arms around her without saying a word. He’d half expected Ashleigh to blame him for everything. But she didn’t. Instead she just cried, her body shaking as she held him.

“Nick, say something!” She exclaimed suddenly, pulling back and facing him. Her face was stained with tears her hair was a mess. Nick on the other hand, looked picture perfect, as he always did. It was scaring her a little, his lack of emotion. “Say something to make it better.” She pleaded.

“I…can’t.” Was all he managed to get out. He was definitely in shock. He’d managed to make Ashleigh feel better every other time she’d been worried, but he suspected there was nothing he could do or say to ease their pain.

“Take me home.” She begged, clinging to him once again. “I want to go home.” She said, crying again.

“You can’t.” Nick said sadly, feeling tears start to brim in his own eyes. He quickly wiped them away, feeling as though one of them had to be strong. He felt heartbroken, not being able to give her the one thing she wanted.

She didn’t reply to him, she just continued to cry, her tears soaking through Nick’s t-shirt. Perhaps she’d been too active, too busy…

“Ash…” Nick choked out, not able to contain himself any longer. “I need to get out of this room.”

Ashleigh just nodded. Quickly, the two of them gathered their things and made their way up to the next floor of the hospital, where Ashleigh would be having her C-Section.

Nick sat outside of the hospital, half heartedly scrolling through the contacts on his cell phone. Ashleigh had opted to be put out for the procedure, as she really didn’t want to go through the emotional pain of being awake through it. Nick had wanted to stay in the room, but Ashleigh had begged him not to, saying that it would be too depressing. He sighed, she was probably right.

He glanced up at the large building. At that moment, their child was being born. While he should have been happy, the only thing he felt was guilt and anguish. He thought a little about the irony of the situation. Eight months prior, he’d have given anything for Ashleigh to have an abortion. Now, he would give anything to bring that same child back to life.

He watched as a lady about five feet away from him took a drag from a cigarette. He contemplated asking her for one, thinking about how easy his life had been back when it was just a blur of cigarettes and alcohol. He hadn’t a care in the world, and he certainly hadn’t wanted to settle down.

“Are you okay?” The lady asked him. Lost in his thoughts, Nick hadn’t noticed her sit beside him.

He smiled a little; he must have looked like a wreck, staring up at the sky and wiping tears from his eyes every couple of seconds. “My girlfriend is having surgery.” He said, happy to have someone to talk to, but not wanting to get into the specifics of the situation.

She smiled and put a hand on Nick’s shoulder. “I’m sure she’ll be fine.” She said, smiling at him. Nick wondered if she recognized him, but figured that she didn’t. She looked quite a bit older than him.

Nick nodded, he didn’t have many doubts that Ashleigh would be physically fine. Emotionally was quite another story. He didn’t feel as though he was ever going to feel better, he could only imagine how Ashleigh was going to feel. “I hope so.” He said, forcing himself to think positively. “Are you…?” He asked, feeling the need to be polite.

She laughed a little. “I’m fine. My twelve year old broke his leg at soccer practice.”

Nick thought about that for a moment. How was that even possible? “How?” He asked, glad he had something to take his mind off the situation at hand.

Again, she laughed, shaking her head. “I have no idea. He always seems to get himself into these situations.” She said, and stood up. “I’d better get back inside, I hope your girlfriend gets better.”

“Thanks.” Nick said, shaking her hand. “I hope your son…gets less accident prone.”

She grinned as she walked back to hospital doors. “Me too.”

Nick hung his head once again, suddenly realizing everything he hadn’t realized he’d been looking forward to had been taken away from him. He would never get to take his son (or daughter) to soccer practice, and shake his head when they became accident prone (which they surely would have, if they were anything like him).

Worst of all, he was going to have to deal with telling everyone what had happened. Instead of excited phone calls, he was going to have to make depressing ones. Flipping through the contacts on his phone, he momentarily wondered if he could get Kevin to call everyone for him. Nick shook his head, again remembering a simpler time when Kevin could bail him out of any situation he got himself into. If only this could be so easy.

Sighing, he went back inside and half heartedly looked around the gift shop. He felt as though he should get something for Ashleigh, but he really didn’t think there was anything he could buy that would make her feel better. Instead, he made his way back up to the waiting room, hoping that his presence and support would be enough.

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