A/N: As a heads up, this chapter is a long one! Hope you guys like it…..
Why won’t they let me be near her? How could they take me away from Marina at the time when she needed me most? I don’t belong here in this accursed “waiting room.” I belong in Marina’s room, right by her side, holding her hand and begging her to hang on, to hang on for me, to hang on for Daniel. I buried my face in my hands, pressing my lips tightly together. I needed to stay calm. Everything was going to be okay. Why should I be panicking when there was nothing to panic about?
Voices suddenly gathered around me as people entered the room. I recognized some of them. When did Buttercup get here? Everyone is crying. Why aren’t I crying? Because she’s going to be okay, remember? Oh, right. I took a sharp intake of breath….felt a hand squeeze my shoulder. I’d really rather not be touched right now. It might cause me to break down and I just can’t. I have to stay strong for Marina.
Oh god, why wasn’t I allowed to be with her right now?! Couldn’t they see I needed to be with her? Why were they so slow with updates?Something about a transfusion. Was it just me, or did the voice sound grim? No, no, it was just me, I’m thinking the worst, but I can’t, I can’t allow myself to.
Marina, if you can somehow hear my thoughts right now, please, please hang in there. I don’t know what I’d do without you. Please don’t d-…I can’t allow myself to think it. Thinking it makes it a viable possibility. This is not a viable possibility.
“Reed, the doctor…” I felt someone nudge my shoulder, first gently and then harder, and I finally looked up to see Buttercup looking at me expectantly and then in front of her. I followed her eyes to see the doctor, looking worried. Is she worried because of Marina, or is she worried because I didn’t even notice her? Because I don’t notice anything. I can’t. I can’t. I have to stay with Marina, even if it’s only in my mind.
“Mr. Winters?” she asked tentatively. “I have some news for you.” Some news…some news. So ambiguous. Is it good? Is it bad? I took a deep breath and stood up, trying to pull myself back to this world.
“Yes?” I responded somewhat hoarsely, clearing my throat and looking at the doctor expectantly. Don’t talk. No do talk. No, no, I can’t hear it! No, no, please tell me. I felt Buttercup take my hand tightly, followed by my mom on my other side.
“Ms. Santos is stable right now,” the doctor said, the smallest of smiles on her face. Mom and Buttercup squealed, hugging each other tightly and then rushing over to my dad. I myself almost collapsed to my knees right then and there, but I stood firm while they celebrated, waiting for more.
“So…so does that mean she’ll be okay?” I asked, reminding myself of a five year old asking about his newly patched teddy bear.
“Well, she’s lost a lot of blood, and she’s very weak right now but,” the doctor hesitated for a moment, as if debating whether or not she’d be digging herself a hole if she continued. “But I think so. She’s taking well to the transfusion,” she finished with a warm smile.
And that was when I finally started to cry, falling to my knees and burying my face in my hands as I lost it. I could literally feel my body shake with every sob. My family fell to the floor around me immediately, holding me tightly as my body shook. I couldn’t get a grip on myself. My relief was just so profound. Hearing that Marina was going to be okay….it allowed me to finally break down…to finally let out every horrible feeling I had had and tried so hard to suppress…all of it just came crashing down upon me now and no amount of effort on my part could stop it.
“Reed, she’s going to be okay!” Buttercup said happily, nudging me gently. “She’ll pull through.”
“She most certainly will,” my dad added firmly. “She’s a strong girl. I know this because she’s with you,” he quipped with a smile.
My mom came over to me then and gently helped me up, looking at me sympathetically. “Hey, the doctor said we could go see Daniel if you want,” she said in a soft voice, clearly looking for a way to cheer me up. “Would you like to? They said Marina still needs to rest for now.” Daniel. I had almost forgotten about him in all of this horrible chaos! Oh god, I was already an awful dad. I started crying again at the thought. How was I supposed to do this?
“You know, I saw him earlier and he cries less than you, bro,” I heard Aspen say from somewhere behind me. I could tell he was grinning without even seeing him.
“Oh fuck you, Aspen,” I groaned, angrily wiping my eyes again. Ughhh. I needed to get it back together again damn it! Marina was going to be just fine and I was a father—it was time for me to feel the overwhelming happiness I was supposed to be feeling! But I still just felt so worried….
“Seven pounds three ounces,” the doctor said. I turned my head in surprise, not realizing that she was still standing there. “And very much healthy,” she added with a smile. “You should go down there. I’ll have the nurse bring him to the window.”
So of course we all went, Aspen leading the way since he had seen him while we were waiting (he said he couldn’t take just standing there). When we got to the window, the nurse inside wheeled his tiny cot over to us…and we all looked down at what had to be the most perfect baby to have ever been born. Sure, some may say I’m biased, but I was serious. I loved him so much already.
“He’s so cute!” Buttercup squealed, jumping up and down happily.
“Nahh, looks too much like his dumb dad,” Aspen joked, grinning over at me. I rolled my eyes, but I couldn’t keep from smiling eventually regardless. I heard a sniffle and noticed my mom crying, my dad next to her with equally shining eyes. I already knew that they were going to spoil Daniel rotten…and I was glad for it.
“He looks like Marina,” I said, touching my hand to the glass as if I could simply reach through it and touch him. “He’s perfect.”
“Yeah, I guess he’s pretty cool,” Aspen said with a smile, looking back through the window at his nephew.
“I bet you’re going to be an awesome dad, Reed,” Buttercup assured me as I stared through the window, transfixed.
I hoped so. I really, really hoped so.
Three days later, both Marina and Daniel were home at last. They said I could have taken Daniel home earlier, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it without Marina. It wouldn’t have felt right. Besides, I spent far more time at the hospital these past few days than at home. Whenever I could I was visiting her, and they even often brought Daniel in with us as well. Marina was already so good with him, even though she got tired easily and felt weaker than usual. Little by little, she was recovering though, and now we were all home at last. I couldn’t have been happier.
Marina was instructed to take it easy and go to the hospital immediately if she noticed any unusual changes, discomfort, etc, but that didn’t stop her from taking every moment that she could to be with Daniel. Even I took a few days off work to be with him. They understood. I was a new father, after all. Plus, there were few who would actually mess with the Chairman of the Board, I had to admit.
“I can’t believe I almost wasn’t around to watch him grow up,” Marina whispered, looking down at Daniel in his crib with shining eyes.
“Please don’t remind me,” I said, literally feeling sick to my stomach (and even a little light-headed for that matter).
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Marina said quickly, noticing my distress. “I’m okay. I’m right here,” she said with a smile, turning toward me and taking my hands. I returned a small smile and squeezed her hands, my heart suddenly beating faster. I never, ever wanted to come close to losing her ever again. I wanted to be with her forever.
“Marina…” I began tentatively, looking into her eyes. “May…may I ask you something?”
“Of course,” she said, concern in her voice as she searched my eyes. Just do it, Reed. Do it! You’ve been meaning to for how long now?
I gave Marina’s hands a tight squeeze before carefully getting down on one knee and pulling a small ring box from out of my pocket.
“Marina…from the moment that we first spoke I knew that there was something special between us and that feeling has only grown stronger as I have gotten to know just how wonderful you are. You mean the world to me, Marina, and I love you so much. ….will you marry me?” I asked, opening the ring box and presenting it to her.
Marina gasped and covered her face with her hands, her eyes open wide. My heart was beating so hard that I was absolutely convinced everyone in the room could hear it. Please, please, please say yes….
“Oh Reed,” Marina cried, tears rapidly filling her eyes. “You mean the world to me too, and I love you more than you know. Yes. Yes, I’ll marry you!” she laughed through her tears. I let out a sigh of relief and smiled hugely as I slipped the ring onto Marina’s finger, marveling out how beautiful it looked there…much more beautiful than it had been in that box, I thought. I stood up then and Marina threw her arms around me, crying happily and holding me tightly. “I thought you’d never ask,” she whispered.
“I’ve always wanted to,” I admitted, holding her just as tightly. “But I couldn’t find the right time to do it. I didn’t want you to think that the only reason I was asking you was the baby. I really, really do love you.”
Marina pulled away and wiped her eyes, smiling at me. “I really, really do love you too. Especially now,” she murmured, her eyes moving to Daniel’s peacefully sleeping form.
“Especially now,” I agreed, and then pulled her into a passionate kiss, thanking everything that was good in this world that I still could….and would, for the rest of our lives together.
We both agreed that we would have the wedding after Daniel got a little older. Right now we didn’t think he’d have such a good time of sitting through a long wedding ceremony, and even so, we were far too busy taking care of him to plan something that large. Not that our wedding was going to be all that crazy, but still. Daniel took up all of our time, although I have to admit that neither of us minded one bit.
I think both of us spent more time in that baby room than anywhere else in the house, including our bedroom, since we were getting so little sleep. Or at least I was, since I insisted on getting Daniel in the middle of the night so Marina didn’t strain herself.
But when it came time for me to go back to work, I couldn’t exactly do that as much. Marina was actually relieved though, saying I was being stupid for taking it all upon myself anyway and that she was fine. And she really did seem it too—the color was back in her cheeks, her eyes were bright again, and she didn’t tire so easy anymore, but still, I couldn’t help myself from being afraid. The images from that horrible night at the hospital seemed to be seared to my retinas for good.
For awhile, I almost forgot about it though. Or at least, I was so busy that I really didn’t have the time to dwell on it. I’d work my shift, end up having to stay late to do more catching up (I still didn’t feel like where I was back in Bridgeport), go home, eat dinner, help Marina with Daniel, and then pass out early so I could do it all over again the next day.
So with such a hectic schedule, it probably should come as no surprise that time flew by, and soon we were celebrating Daniel’s birthday! We threw a party at the house with all of our closest friends and family. Even Buttercup and Tony made the trip from Bridgeport (again).
“Oh, you have no idea how much this means to me- uhh I mean- my daughter!”
“Yeah, no problem, man. Anything for a fan…or the father of a fan,” Tony said, smirking as he signed a grocery receipt.
“Err, sorry about that, Tony,” I said once mom’s friend walked away.
“No worries. Always nice to see that people outside of Bridgeport have heard about the Azure Heliotropes, you know?”
Besides some of our guests being mauled by fans, the celebration continued as I brought Daniel to the cake to blow out his candle. Of course, he couldn’t exactly do so yet, so I helped him out, blowing out the candle in one soft puff.
“Yay!! Go Daniel!” Marina cheered loudly. “….umm you’re facing the wrong way…”
“No I’m not, I’m laughing at the old man behind you! He’s talking to the banister.”
“I see. Yes well, you’re making me feel a little uncomfortable…..”
….remind me to double-check the guest list next time.
Luckily though, Melody (as I found out her name was afterward) moved out of the way, mom’s friend stopped talking to the banister, and everyone cheered loudly for Daniel!
“Dude, Aspen, what are you wearing?”
“It’s my get my party on outfit! I thought Daniel would like it!”
“He might. ….or he might have nightmares.”
“….ARRR GO DANIEL!!!!!”
Arr, so that be the tale of- I MEAN, uh, so, that’s how Daniel came to grow up into a toddler! It shocked me how much he looked like my mom. Like, seriously- same hair color, same eye color, even the same nose! In a way, he looked a lot more like mom’s kid than mine, but that didn’t matter to me. Daniel was healthy, happy, and awesome. I loved that little guy.
SEE? SEE? Exactly like her!! Just watch him need glasses when he grows up and we’re set!
“Reed…must you take such a close up photo of me? I think I’ve gone blind from the flash.”
“You know, Reed. I was thinking….” Marina mused as she ate her cake. “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a sibling for Daniel? Another little baby of our own?
I pounded on my chest and coughed loudly, trying to dislodge the cake from my TRACHEA.
“Are you okay?” Marina asked, looking at me concernedly.
“Why would you want another baby? Daniel is perfect. We don’t need another child,” I said, suddenly feeling horribly sick to my stomach.
“But Reed that’s the thing. He IS perfect. That’s why I want another baby like him. I want him to have a little brother or sister he can grow up with. I mean, look at the relationship you have with your sister…aren’t you glad you have her?” she asked, staring at me in surprise.
“I really don’t want to talk about this right now. Not here. Can we talk later?”
Marina stared at me for a moment with a hurt expression on her face, but finally nodded and turned back to her cake. “Yeah…okay,” she said in a small voice.
And I should have felt bad. I really, really should have felt bad, but I didn’t. I had meant every word that I had said. We didn’t need another kid. Daniel was all that we needed. Why couldn’t she see that?
“There you go little man. Exhausted from the party, hmm?”
“Ba!” Daniel cooed, reaching up to his grandfather. My dad chuckled, smiling down at him.
“Good night, you.”
“Er…thanks dad,” I said from the doorway, having been on the search for Daniel once I noticed him missing from downstairs.
“No problem. He looked like he was getting tired so I took him up here. Speaking of, I’m beat myself. Good night, son.”
“Good night, dad,” I said, moving out of the way as he left the baby room.
But I stayed behind for a moment, standing in the doorway and watching as my son fell asleep within seconds, definitely exhausted from the party it seemed.
“See, you don’t mind not having a little sister or brother,” I said quietly. “You have your mom and dad, and grandma and grandpa, and Auntie Buttercup and Uncle Aspen…you’re perfectly fine.”
I sighed, rubbing my head as I felt the onset of a headache. I didn’t want to go back to our bedroom. The bedroom was where Marina would be waiting to talk to me. I didn’t want to have this discussion. I really didn’t. But I knew I had to, so with another sigh, I flicked off the lights and closed the door behind me.
Here goes nothing.
“So what exactly was up with that?” Marina asked as soon as I walked in the room, not looking exactly thrilled, but clearly trying to keep her cool.
“What was up with what?” I muttered in reply. “I told you everything I needed to. I don’t want another kid.” Marina’s lower lip trembled for a moment, but then she took a breath and glared at me, her hands on her hips.
“Aren’t you even going to consider it?” she asked impatiently.
“Reed, you’re being childish. I don’t understand. I-I thought you liked kids.”
“I do!” I exclaimed. “It’s just, one is enough, isn’t it? And besides, don’t you miss work? I thought you were looking forward to heading back. If we have another baby you’d have to go out on maternity leave again.”
“I know that,” Marina said exasperatedly. “But…the thing is, I’ve always wanted two or three kids, and yes I originally wanted to have them after I had been established in my career, but then I got pregnant before then, so I just figure, why go back to work only to have to take off again and then possibly start all over again? You know?”
“Okay, fine, I get that, but I just don’t want another kid, okay?”
“Why won’t you even consider it!?” Marina cried, her voice gradually getting louder and more impatient.
“BECAUSE YOU ALMOST DIED LAST TIME! GODDAMNIT! WHY DON”T YOU SEE THAT!?” I yelled, my eyes unwittingly filling up with angry tears. “God, Marina! The last time we had a kid- You. Almost. DIED. Am I the only one that remembers that?!”
“Reed…” Marina said in a quiet voice, looking alarmed. “Of course I remember, but look, I’m still here. I’m still alive. Yes there was a complication, but I pulled through.”
“That’s the dumbest argument I’ve ever heard! Oh, well, I didn’t die the last time I jumped off the cliff without protective gear, so uhh herp de derp guess that means I can do it again!”
“This is NOT the same as jumping off a cliff, Reed!”
“Well as far as I’m concerned, IT IS.”
“There is more than one way to have a baby, you know. I could schedule a C-section. In fact, they would probably already make me do that anyway, even if I didn’t want to, just in case.”
“Oh yeah, because slicing open your stomach and pulling the baby out sounds a hell of a lot safer!”
“You know it isn’t like that, Reed! Now you’re just being stupid! No wait, correction, MORE stupid,” Marina snapped, clearly pissed off at this point. I opened my mouth to yell something back, but then stopped myself as I saw Marina deflate before my eyes, her eyes filling up with tears. “Could you please just think about it?”
“Marina….” I said in a strained voice, reaching out to her. She took a half-step backward.
“Please,” she said again, looking up at me pleadingly. “What happened last time won’t happen again. They’ll take precautions, I’m sure of it. …I love you, Reed, and I want to have another baby with you. I want a little brother or sister for Daniel. Please, please just think about it.” I groaned, covering my face with my hands and shutting my eyes tightly. I didn’t want to consider this…I didn’t, I didn’t.
“Couldn’t we adopt?” I asked, moving my hands out of my face and looking at her in a last ditch effort to get her to change her mind.
“…I suppose,” she said quietly, her eyes filling with tears again. “But I really want another baby with you,” she finished in a whisper. “I hope you understand that.”
And I did. I really did. There WAS a part of me that wanted nothing more than to grant Marina that wish, hell my wish even! I did actually want another baby. Very badly…but not badly enough to risk losing Marina again. No, certainly not that badly enough. But something in me broke down a little in spite of myself and I could feel my eyes beginning to sting again and finally, I said in a defeated voice, “I’ll think about it.”
Marina let out a breath she must have been holding and seemed to brighten right before my eyes, but she also seemed to realize what a difficult thing that had been for me to say, so she kept herself contained. “Thank you,” she said, barely keeping the smile off of her face.
“Just…don’t keep bringing it up, okay? Give me time to think about it.”
“I promise I’ll let you think about it. I won’t say a word.”
And to Marina’s credit…she didn’t. Since that night, she never brought up the issue of having another child, instead taking to putting all her time and energy into caring for Daniel and making the final arrangements for our wedding.
Our relationship hadn’t even seemed to suffer, and after awhile I began to relax again, spending all of my free time with either Daniel or Marina and actually feeling like I could breathe again.
….not that I wasn’t giving the issue some thought, of course. I actually really was…but it was a lot easier to think about this when stress was kept relatively low.
Well…low until the day of our wedding finally arrived. The house was a chaotic mess with everyone running to and fro getting ready, looking for stockings or bobby pins or Daniel’s shoes (he had hid them in his toy box), or just simply trying to get everyone in the car.
Of course, as per tradition, I hadn’t seen Marina all day. After I had gotten ready I was barred from going upstairs and then we took two separate cars to our wedding location, a place called “Glory Retreat Weddings.”
When I got there, Buttercup was already entertaining the guests who had already arrived (getting everyone there took FOREVER). Of course, no one seemed to mind, completely entranced by her playing. And it took awhile, but after an hour or so, it finally, finally seemed that everyone was here….
Mom and dad….
My brother-in-law, Tony….
Our little man, Daniel, and loads of other guests, including Aspen, his new girlfriend, old friends and co-workers.
And of course we can’t forget….
My absolutely stunning bride.
How was it possible to love someone so much?
When it came time, we recited the traditional vows, promising to care for and love each other no matter what circumstances may arise, for as long as the other shall live. They were easy promises to make. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would never want to be with anyone else.
I never had been exaggerating when I said Marina was my world.
And when we shared that first kiss together as husband and wife, I could honestly that it was not only the best kiss that we have ever shared, but also the happiest moment of my life. Even happier than finding out Marina was okay, because instead of the moment being filled with stress and continual worry, this moment was filled with nothing but happiness, love, and the greatest promise of all…forever.
As I looked up at Marina, I couldn’t get over how beautiful she looked; couldn’t get over the fact that she was now my wife, my forever; and most of all, couldn’t get over how much I loved her.
….I wanted her to be happy.
My heart gave a painful twist in my chest and I suddenly felt so anxious. I knew what she wanted, but I was so afraid. So afraid of losing her. But maybe Marina was right. Maybe I was being irrational.
“Are you okay?” Marina asked, looking up at me with a smile. I gave her a small smile back and nodded, my heart pounding harder. If I said yes, I risked losing her, but if I said no…I also might lose her. She wanted this so badly. …and I wanted it too. I really did…but I couldn’t live through that again.
But you want her to be happy….
Having made my decision, I took Marina’s hand firmly in mine, giving it a squeeze that was perhaps a little harder than necessary. She gave me a worried look and opened her mouth to say something, but I shook my head, taking a deep breath. Just tell her. I leaned in close to her…grazed my lips across her cheek, and then finally said quietly, “My answer is yes…I-I want to have another baby with you.”
Marina looked up for a moment, her eyes already filled with tears, and then, without saying a word, wrapped her arms around me and kissed me so passionately that it suddenly felt like liquid fire was rushing through my veins.
“Thank you,” she whispered, breaking the kiss for a moment to look at me.
God. I had never seen a person so happy before.
I shook my head. “I wanted it too.”
And then this time I pulled her into my arms, kissing her hard and never, ever wanting to let go as I thought just one simple thing…
Please don’t let this be a mistake.
Whew!! I hoped you guys are happy with what happened ^_^ I couldn’t ever have killed Marina off, haha, I’ve never seen two sims so in love…it would’ve destroyed Reed o_o And I’m not that evil XD Thanks for reading and until next time!! =D
Also, GENERATIONS SOON!! *parties*