589. - Lucien
Everyone talks to me. No one talks to Emma, because she barely hears what they're saying or doesn't give much of a response. So instead, everyone talks to me.
Maddy talks me through the methods to get rid of what used to be our child in so much detail that I feel sick. The doctor on shift talks to me about reasons it might have happened, but there isn't really one. A social worker comes, not expecting us to talk but to remind and urge us to use the aftercare the hospital provides. I listen. I write things down, because I won't remember. I nod and shake hands and say I understand. I thank people for their sympathies. I'm on an automatic pilot, not really registering any of it.
I stay away from Emma. She doesn't want me touching her. We don't even look at each other. I'm keeping at least a metre between me and the bed. It's not conscious, really, more like there's a forcefield between us that keeps us apart.
We get told that there's an opening for the procedure tomorrow at one. Afterwards, Emma will have to stay in the hospital for two more days and then she can come home. Three days feel like a life time. How am I supposed to make it until then? I'm barely hanging on as is. But I have to. One look at Emma tells me that I cannot break down. I have to pull through.
I know I can. I've done it when my mother died, when Aleran died, even when Emma broke up with me. No one has to know. I need to be strong and reliable, someone to hold onto. I shove the chipping pieces back into place, and go to find a doctor for more details of the procedure and it's after-effects.
When I get back, Emma is pretending to be asleep. Her cheeks are still stained with tears, with deep and dark circles below her eyes. I want to lay next to her and hold her, whisper lies to her that it's going to be okay, that it's okay to grieve because it helps ease the pain. She wants nothing to do with me. I leave her.
And then I get send home. Emma 'wakes up' then. Maddy is gone, the nurse from the night shift disagreeing with her decision to let me stay. Other loved ones are asking why they can't stay, why I get special treatment. I fight, but not hard. Emma fights, but even less hard. It feels unfair that I get to get out of the hospital and she doesn't. I'd stay if they'd let me, but when I get threatened with security, I leave on my own free will.
Is is really only ten minutes between the hospital and our apartment? It feels like forever. Appriopriately it's raining, but it does little to calm me down. I have to go back to the hospital tomorrow. In a very selfish moment, I wonder if I'll even be able to do that. To walk back in with now not one, but two traumatic events that happened in the sterile white rooms that I could do nothing about but somehow still feel like my fault.
I don't even remember walking to our complex, or taking the elevator. One moment I'm in the cab, the next I'm in front of our door. My hand trembles when I go to open it, but to my surprise I find it unlocked. There's light streaming into the dark hallway, where just days ago I took a picture of Emma and her bump. The picture is still the wallpaper of my phone. I can't find the energy to change it.
"Luce?" Gabriel comes around the corner, looking surprised. He's smiling. Did I invite him here? I honestly don't remember. "Where's Emma?"
"What are you doing here?" I ask flatly. I don't need another headache. At the same time, I want nothing more than to walk into his embrace so he can attempt to hold me together until I have the energy to do it myself.
His smile falters. "I'm sorry, I know that just coming in here was a risk, but Matthew said you'd both be coming home from the hospital today and I wanted to surprise you as a gesture of good will and to congratulate you on -"
"Don't" I say sharply. "finish that sentence. You came for nothing, Gabriel, I'm sorry. You can go home now."
"Look, Lucien, I know things have been rocky, but that's why I came. I want to talk to you, see if we can fix this..."
"Well I don't." I barge past him, straight to where we keep a decanter of whiskey. I fill my glass to an absurd amount. "Just go home, Gabriel."
"Luce, what's wrong?" It's a genuine question. "Where's Emma? Matt said everything was okay."
"Well, Matt doesn't know everything, does he?" Anger is rising in me, seeping through the cracks. It drips into my voice and tastes bitter on my tongue. I burn it away with whiskey. "Please. I don't have the energy to beg you, but you cannot be here right now."
He's followed me into the living room, but he keeps his fair distance. Just like me and Emma. "Why not? Look, I'll go if that's what you want, I just want to know why. All I want to do is congratulate you and Emma on being pregnant."
The words cut deep into my soul. Pregnant. Emma's still pregnant. With our dead child. Never to be born, never to open her eyes. "There's nothing to congratulate me on." I reply, unable to bring any emotion to my voice in fear of slipping.
"What does that even mean?" His voice is so gentle, so pleading, he honestly wants to know what makes me be like this. That voice slithers its way through the cracks in my carefully crafted composure, and causes me to implode.
"BECAUSE THERE IS NO FUCKING HEARTBEAT!" I scream, hurling my glass away from me; it shatters against the wall, glass and amber liquid spraying everywhere. I see a blur of black and white, but barely register it as our cat. "THERE'S NO HEARTBEAT, NO MOVEMENT, NO GROWING. THERE - IS - NO - FUCKING - BABY!" I whip around to face him; he stares back with wide, fearful eyes and his hands raised as if in self defence. Like a maniac, I laugh. "A miscarriage, Gabriel. She had a fucking miscarriage. And tomorrow, they're going to take her out and toss her away with the rest of the toxic biohazardous waste."
"Her?" Gabriel asks, in a very small and careful tone.
"Yes." I whisper with another laugh, because it's the only thing that keeps me from tumbling off the edge. "That's what we should it was. A little girl. She was supposed to be ours. But now we have nothing."
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