AN: I am now marking the story as "complete" again. Not because I know for sure there won't be anymore chapters, but because I don't want to once more make the mistake of promising more than I can deliver. So this story can be considered complete at this point in time. Enjoy, and please, by all means review ;)
When the alarm rang that morning, Brandon had been sure of one thing. He was in no shape to go to class today. Because he was more than aware what today was. Andrea had been completely upfront about it. He knew when, he knew where and if he'd asked her he'd probably know who as well.
He had offered to go with her, naturally, but she hadn't accepted. Deep down she knew he was not comfortable with her decision, and while part of Brandon was both grateful and relieved of her consideration of him, he also felt hurt and rejected.
Unable to think about much else than what today was, Brandon was grateful to discover he would have the house to himself as Mr. Walsh headed to work, Brenda to the University and Mrs. Walsh decided to drive out to the Farmer's Market for the day. But, as the last of them drove off and silence filled the Walsh residence, Brandon soon experienced the flip side of the coin.
He found himself checking the time every couple of minutes and against his will imagining where Andrea was and what she was doing. When eleven o'clock was slowly approaching, Brandon turned the TV on for distraction. Nothing was on, of course, but he occupied himself with flicking through the several hundred channels he had at his disposal.
Completely consumed with the task, Brandon jumped when he heard he door bell chime. He glanced up at the clock and realized it had already been an hour. How could it already be an hour?
The door bell chimed once more, so he got up and crossed the living room floor into the hallway. Reaching out, he turned the knob and opened the door to reveal his girlfriend standing on the other side. Upon seeing her a knot formed in his stomach. Considering she hadn't wanted him to come with her, Brandon had to admit a part of him was surprised to see her.
Another part was not.
Her arms huddled against her chest, Andrea's eyes barely met his. She looked as though she either had cried, or was about to.
She didn't speak, didn't move. Just stood in front of him, as if she was waiting for him to make the first move. It was then he realized he was holding the door only half-open, a gesture that could easily be taken as a rejection, especially considering the circumstances. Quickly he opened it all the way up and motioned for her to come in.
She hesitated at first, but then stepped across the threshold, her arms still tightly huddled against her body. Her mouth opened, then closed without as much as a sound passing. She was clearly having trouble finding the words.
"Did you..?" Brandon finally asked.
A tear ran down her cheek and Brandon felt a second knot forming. But then she shook her head...
Brandon didn't know how to respond. Not even how to feel. He had been so focused on protesting his lack of say in her decision that he hadn't given himself time to think about where he stood on the matter. Were the knots in his stomach really there because he hadn't wanted her to go through with it? Then why did he feel a third one on its way?
"You didn't?" He already had the answer, he just needed to hear her say it.
She blinked, turned her gaze away from him and swallowed hard.
Already now Brandon could hear her voice break. Two quick steps forward and his arms were wrapped around her. Her breathing was erratic, so he used his hands to stroke her back soothingly. Eventually her breathing calmed and she was once more capable of speaking in full sentences. He loosened his hold on her so that he was able to look her in the eyes.
"What happened?" he urged.
Andrea turned her gaze down and shook her head.
"It made sense. Everything I said last week still applied, but... but when I saw the tube, it really hit me what I was about to do..." Her voice once more began to shake. "And I just couldn't... I couldn't go through with it."
"Hey," he whispered soothingly. "It's okay."
She leaned into him and buried her face in his chest. He heard quiet sobs coming from her followed by a timid, "What are we gonna do?"
"We'll figure it out," he promised her.
But inside he wasn't as sure. Inside he felt terrified, weighed down by the responsibility that had so suddenly been heaped upon him. And maybe a little bit nauseous...
The only solace he found was the fact that others before him had managed. And that at least gave him hope that sometime in the next eight months he would have the answer.