My Happy Ending – Chapter 20

After spending four days in the hospital recovering from surgery, Ashleigh was quite ready to get out of there. Not that she was too keen on going home either, but it would be far more comfortable than the bland walls of Tampa General.

Nick hadn’t left her side for the entire time she’d been there, something she found to be quite ca compassionate thing for him to do. She’d told him to go home and get some sleep, but he wouldn’t budge and usually ended up dozing off in the chair beside her bed.

Not surprisingly, the morning that Ashleigh was discharged had come as quite a relief to both of them. However, when they finally stepped outside, they were met with another problem.

“Fuck.” Nick swore under his breath, pulling Ashleigh closer to him. There was a slew of paparazzi outside, which he should have expected given their interest in him lately. Holding Ashleigh’s hand tightly, the two of them began to walk towards the car, but not without incedent.

“Nick!” One particularly brave photographer called to him. “Can you talk to us about the past few days?”

“Just keep walking.” Nick muttered to Ashleigh. “Ignore them. If you give them so much as a glare they’ll do a page long story on it.”

But Nick’s disinterest in didn’t stop them. “Nick!” Another one called as he continued to follow them. “Can you comment on the status of your child?”

Nick bit his lip, unable to contain his frustration at the situation. He spun around and grabbed the man by the collar of his shirt. “I’m leaving the hospital with my no longer pregnant girlfriend and without my son, what does that tell you?” He nearly shouted, before turning his attention back to Ashleigh. Of course, this only made them get followed more.

“How many pages do you think that’ll take up?” Ashleigh asked sarcastically once they were in the car.

Nick sighed as he began the drive back to his house. “I just… lost it. Those people are monsters, Ashleigh. They have no heart.”

She just nodded her head, staring out the window. Part of her felt as though she just wanted to go back home to Minneapolis and forget all about her experience in Florida. Then again, she couldn’t bear the thought of leaving Nick. She slouched down in her seat, not really sure how she was supposed to be feeling.

Once they arrived back home, Ashleigh solemnly walked upstairs to the bedroom, and couldn’t help but glance across the hallway to the nursery. Sighing, she stepped into the room and sat down onto the floor, hugging a blanket to her chest.

Nick quickly followed her upstairs, and peeked into the room where Ashleigh was sitting. He sighed, Ashleigh really wasn’t making this any easier on herself. He figured asking her to move would be a bad idea, instead he just sat down beside her in silence. The two of them stayed that way for a little while, not really knowing what to say to each other, or if there really was anything that could be said.

“Happy anniversary, Nicky.” Ashleigh finally broke their silence.

Nick gave Ashleigh a small smile and kissed her quickly. “I love you…”

Ashleigh sighed, tears brimming in her eyes once again. She quickly wiped them away, sick of feeling depressed and helpless. All she and Nick had done while they were in the hospital was cry and feel sorry for themselves.

“I wish this wasn’t happening, Nick.” She whispered, hugging him again. “I wonder what he would have been like, you know? God, we don’t even know what colour his eyes were.”

Nick put his arm around her. He’d been thinking all the same things, and was glad that Ashleigh seemed to be on the same wavelength as he was. “I know.”

“He probably would have gotten all famous, been on like American Idol or something.” Ashleigh mused, fiddling with the blanket in her hands. “He would have a real heartbreaker.”

Nick nodded, feeling more and more regret for something that had been beyond his control. Sighing, he glanced around the room. Why Ashleigh had chosen to sit in the nursery, he had no idea. It was only making him feel worse about the whole situation. He watched as Ashleigh traced the pattern of the blanket with her fingers, and as his eyes drifted up to her neck he suddenly remembered. “I almost forgot, I got you an anniversary gift.” He said, dashing out of the room.

“I thought we agreed no gifts!” Ashleigh called after him, but Nick returned with a velvet Tiffany’s box.

Ashleigh looked at Nick with disbelief. Was he going to propose to her again? She considered that thought for a moment, perhaps she wouldn’t be so opposed…

But it wasn’t an engagement ring. Far from it, actually. It was just a simple necklace with heart charm dangling from it. She smiled up at him. How had she managed to find such a good boyfriend? “Thanks Nicky.” She said, kissing him.

The next week went by painfully slowly for Nick and Ashleigh. Most of the time they would sit silently with each other, either zoning out in front of the television set or just laying in their bedroom. Neither of them had told anyone what had happened. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the tabloids from running their stories. Most notably, US Weekly had them on the front cover leaving the hospital. The only reason Nick knew this was because he’d run out to buy groceries the day before and had seen it on the newsstand. However, he’d decided against bringing it home, knowing that it would only upset Ashleigh.

So that evening when Nick’s cell phone rang, he quickly stepped into the den to answer it. Looking at the caller ID, he figured Kevin was calling to scold him for yelling at the paparazzi. “Kev, look, I’m sorry, they were just really getting on my nerves…” Nick rambled.

“Why didn’t you tell us, Nick?” Kevin asked, not using an accusing tone, but rather a gentle one. “I’m so, so sorry.”

Nick ran a hand through his hair. He really hadn’t wanted to deal with telling anyone about what had happened. “I just didn’t want to talk about it.” He said sadly. “Ashleigh and I haven’t told anyone.”

“I can’t even think how hard this must be for the two of you.” Kevin said sympathetically. “If you need me, you know where I am.”

“I know.” Nick said, grateful that Kevin wasn’t upset with him. “Thanks Kev.” He said, hanging up.

Nick slowly made his way back upstairs, but stopped when he heard Ashleigh talking. Nick moved a little closer to the room, and figured that she was talking to Joey. He smiled a little to himself; that would be the first time the two girls had talked since they’d got back from the hospital. He turned away from the bedroom and went towards to kitchen to make himself something to eat, and to give Ashleigh her privacy.

“Oh my God.” Joey breathed, upon hearing that Ashleigh and Nick had lost their child. “That must be horrible. How are you doing? How’s Nick doing? Jesus Ash, I’m sorry.”

“It sucks.” Ashleigh replied, wiping her eyes again. Her face was starting to hurt from crying so much. “I can’t stop fucking crying. I’ll start to feel better, and then something will happen to remind me, and I’ll just get upset all over again.”

Joey frowned, Ashleigh was always full of drama. It really didn’t help that most of the time, things weren’t exactly her fault. “That really sucks, Ash. How’s Nick doing?”

Ashleigh sighed. “I don’t think he’s doing so well either. He’s so sweet to me, and he listens to me cry, but I mean he gets upset too. So most of the time we just end up sitting here all upset together.”

Joey pondered that for a moment. “Well, at least you guys are handling it together.”

Ashleigh smiled a little. That much was true, if any good had come of this it had helped to push she and Nick closer together. “I guess so. He really is being wonderful. He even went out last night to get food to make chicken alfredo.” She said.

Joey grinned. “That was nice of him. Did it turn out okay?”

Ashleigh giggled, talking to her friend was definitely making her feel better. “Yeah, it actually did. He’s not a bad cook.”

The two girls continued to talk, and Ashleigh began to feel a little better. While the pain of her and Nick losing their son was still there, the fact that her relationship with Nick had become more solid throughout the whole mess made things a little better.

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