Placing his hands on his hips, Wilson couldn't help but think that there were some types of cancer easier to diagnose than what he was trying to do at that moment.
It was ridiculous how hard the decision was.
He'd turned away offers of help from the sales women. Thinking that he should be able to handle picking out a stuffed animal on his own, Wilson had tried going with the obvious, traditional choice for babies, but once he'd settled on that, he'd promptly changed his mind. It just hadn't felt right.
As his irritation continued to grow, Wilson's left hand moved from his waist to pinch the bridge of his nose. Never in a million years had he thought it would be this hard to choose a stuffed animal.
Months ago, when he and Cuddy had visited the baby store together, he'd watched in wonderment as her face lit up at the sight of the stuffed animals. She'd smiled softly, squeezing an "ultra-plush" bunny, and laughed when a stuffed frog she'd squeezed began to ribbit.
She'd looked so happy. So content.
Wilson had watched her carefully, mentally cataloguing which toys she seemed to like the best so he could back and purchase one for her as a welcome home baby gift. But… she'd loved so many of them that he'd had no clue as to which was really her favorite. He'd thought of asking which she liked best but decided not to, figuring that Cuddy would realize what he was planning.
And so, he was stuck.
In the forty-five minutes that Wilson had been standing in the "Toyland" section of Betty's Baby Boutique, he'd managed to narrow his choices down to three stuffed animas. A pink teddy bear, a yellow giraffe with green, heart-shaped spots, and a large yellow duck with a loopy bow around its neck.
At first, he'd decided to go with the teddy bear, reasoning that they were the traditional baby toy. He could still remember the one he'd clung to when he was younger. It was nothing fancy or out of the ordinary. Just a brown bear with large black eyes and a yellow bow tie, but he'd loved it. And as he stood there thinking about Buzz the Bear, Wilson couldn't help but wonder if his mom still had the bear at her house.
Pushing thoughts of his favorite childhood toy away, Wilson had picked up a pink bear. The fur was extremely soft, and much like Cuddy, he hadn't been able to top himself from running his fingers over the bubble gum-colored fur.
His fingers wrapped around the animal's middle, giving it a gentle squeeze. There was no squawk or giggle from a noisemaker in its tummy, but the bear's plushness made up for that. The stuffing inside the toy was so soft that it had doubled over under his gentle grip. The floppiness alone was enough to make the bear sweet, but its bright brown button eyes made it adorable. The pink teddy wasn't Buzz, but it had the potential to be Rachel's own version of him.
Content with his decision, Wilson was just about to head up towards the register with the pink bear when something else caught his eye.
A stuffed giraffe.
It wasn't realistic like the five foot tall one in Rachel's nursery. Instead, it was yellow with little green heart-shaped patches making up the giraffe's pattern, and there was a rattle in its stomach. And once he'd picked it up and heard the noise, Wilson hadn't been able to stop himself from shaking the toy a few times. When he finally stopped, he noticed that the toy had bright green eyes.
Chuckling to himself, Wilson couldn't help but feel ridiculous for being so drawn to the animal's eyes. They were just molded resin, dyed green, nothing more. It wasn't like he was close to anyone with green eyes, so it wasn't a matter of association. But for whatever reason, he was just drawn to them.
He'd tried to put the giraffe back on the shelf, but he couldn't. There was just something about the toy's eyes that made him reconsider the bubblegum pink bear in his other hand.
Wilson had thought about buying both but couldn't bring himself to, deciding that that seemed like too much. The thought of buying two toys felt too personal, too forward. And so, he'd only allow himself to buy one. Deep down, he wanted to go with the bear, because it reminded him so much of Buzz. But there was just something in the giraffe's eyes, something that was stopping him from marching up to the counter and ending his dilemma once and for all.
And so he stood, bear in one hand, giraffe in the other, so torn between the two that he'd hung his head in frustration.
It was ridiculous, he thought, that it was that difficult for him to simply choose a stuffed animal. It was only a toy after all. And it wasn't like Rachel would really care or be able to tell what the thing was. To her, it would be nothing more than a fluffy, colorful lump she could stick in her mouth.
So really, what he picked didn't matter.
But for some reason, it was still a ridiculously impossible task.
One that he was beginning to regret.
Lifting up his head to look at the animals again, Wilson wished that when he'd first picked up the pink teddy bear, he'd turned around and walked right back towards the register. After all, bears were the traditional stuffed animal when it came to babies.
And it was for that reason that he decided, despite still being torn between the two, to go with the bear that reminded him so much of his childhood and Buzz.
Not completely satisfied with the decision, but content enough, Wilson went to place the giraffe back on the shelf when he saw it.
Stuck behind a purple crocodile and a fluffy, white sheep whose tag read, "Hi! I'm Ewwwwwan," was a giant yellow duck whose eyes and beak were visible over all of the other toys.
Setting the giraffe and bear on the shelf, Wilson pulled the duck out from behind the other stuffed animals. It wasn't until Ewwwwwan fell off of the shelf and onto the floor, that he realized just how big the duck actually was. He'd known it was bigger than the other toys on the shelf, but he hadn't expected it to be that large. Or fluffy.
After returning the gator and sheep to their places on the shelf, Wilson held the duck out in front of him. Its head, belly, wings, and feet were extra puffy, giving him an almost marshmallow-y look. And adding to his sweet appearance was the bird's little black eyes and bright orange beak and feet.
There was something so sweet and almost comical about the duck that Wilson just couldn't bring himself to put it down. And the fact that toy was wearing a loopy pink ribbon around its neck, only made him more appealing.
Giving the duck's tummy a squeeze, Wilson chuckled to himself. There wasn't a noisemaker in its middle, but the duck doubled over, almost as if he were bowing. There was no particular reason he should be so drawn to the duck, but he was. Unlike the bear, he didn't have an emotional connection to the bird. In fact, other than Buzz, he hadn't had many stuffed animals as a child. But even still, he understood how important they could be.
Wilson thought that maybe the reason he'd been so drawn to the duck was because they were always linked with babies. After all, every time he'd walked into the store with Cuddy, he hadn't been able to walk two feet without spotting something with a duck on it. But as he stared into the stuffed animal's black, beady eyes and they appeared to stare back, Wilson knew that that wasn't it.
And even though he knew the reason he liked the duck wasn't because of its connection to babies, he couldn't quite figure out what it was that had him so captivated by the thing.
But whatever it was, he was hooked, and he knew that the duck was the way to go. And he was positive that Cuddy would like the toy. Looking at the duck, Wilson could see her smiling at it as she had the day they stood before the wall of stuffed toys, completely mesmerized. He thought about how her face had lit up as she'd squeezed and pet the various animals.
Even though the toy was for Rachel, it was Cuddy's reaction that he was really looking forward to. After all, the baby was to young to care. So long as the toy was soft and she could drool on it, Wilson knew she would be fine.
And because of that, Wilson felt like the gift was actually for Cuddy. As much as it was for Rachel, it was really for Cuddy herself. After all of the heartbreak and disappointment she'd faced in her quest to become a mother, Wilson was glad that she'd finally gotten her happy ending. And it was that knowledge that had made the choice so difficult.
Wilson knew that she'd be happy with anything he picked. After all, he'd seen her fall all over the stuffed animals the last time they'd been at the shop together. But that certainly didn't stop him from laboring over his decision.
And as difficult as the choice had been, looking at the giant duck, Wilson finally felt as if he'd made the right choice. But before he made his way to the counter, he looked down at the heart-shaped tag attached to the duck's bow.
Instead of looking at the bird's price, he was checking to see if the duck had a name. Because, just like Buzz, Rachel's stuffed animal had to have a good name.
When he saw what was written in small, orange letters, Wilson's face split into a wide smile.
Printed on the plastic tag was the perfect name for the duck in his hands. It simply said, "Hi! I'm Quack!"
Squeeka Cuomo's Notes
- Disclaimer: Not mine.
- Originally written for the lj community "alphabetasoup" (V is for Vexed).
- Quack: You're such an amazing beta and awesome friend. This is dedicated to you for all of your hard work. Thank you so much. :duck: