Until We Bleed
A/N: I am so, so, so sorry for keeping you guys waiting. The past few weeks have been hectic. For one, I moved. Still in NYC, still in my beloved borough of The Bronx, just in a different section of it. For two weeks, following my move, I was without internet. Once I got it back, I devoted my time to my youtube channel which has basically been neglected for three months. And on top of it all...writer's block is a bitch. So, enjoy this final installment of Until We Bleed and, hopefully, I will be able to finish the three stories that is already in progress; speaking of which, anyone have any ideas for Just One Bite, cause I got nothing.
Childish laughter rang through the Italian villa as Destiny Danforth ran from her non-blood uncle, Troy Bolton. They had been playing a game of tag for the past hour and, even though he was exhausted, he didn't give up the chase. Finally catching her, he lifted her off her feet and began to brush his fingertips against her sides where he knew she was ticklish. She squirmed in his grip, desperately trying to get away from him, but failing greatly. It was no secret that he loved the little girl as if she were his own. Whenever her father left her in his care, Troy doted on her like she were his blood.
With a soft smile, Gabriella Bolton née Montez watched the scene playing out in front of her with a sparkle in her eyes. She loved watching them; loved seeing how caring Troy could be with the child. She knew he wanted one of his own—a girl—and knew that she wanted to be the one to give him that wish. But she wasn't sure if she could. The unexpected pregnancy and miscarriage of her first born had left a lasting impression on her soul. It was the reason why she never failed to take her birth control pills.
"Uncle. Troy. I can't. Breathe," Destiny laughed out.
Chuckling, he stopped his ministrations and lifted her over his shoulder. Before he could move her into a different room, the front door opened and in walked Destiny's father and 'Mama Sharpay' as she liked to call her.
Chad Danforth laughed. "Troy, if you don't put my daughter down..."
Grinning playfully, Chad ran at his best friend, but before he could reach him, Troy ran off with Destiny still over his shoulder. Sharpay Evans shook her head and sat down beside her best friend.
"Those two are such children."
Gabriella nodded. "That they are, but we love them anyway."
"Unfortunately," the blonde responded with a sigh. "So, what's up?"
"Oh, come on, Gabi. I know you, I can tell when there's something wrong. It's written all over your face."
"That obvious, huh?"
"Pretty much." She took Gabriella's hand. "Tell me."
Sighing, Gabriella played with the hem of her skirt. "I don't...I don't know what to do."
"In terms of?"
"In terms of having kids one day. I mean, I know Troy's wants them, but I... Ever since the miscarriage, I've been afraid of becoming pregnant again; afraid that the same thing will happen."
Wrapping her arms around her best friend, Sharpay tried hard to provide the right comfort. Since the day Gabriella had revealed the events of her seventeenth birthday, the blonde had found it hard to comfort her. It was simpler to comfort her when her qualms had to do with her mother and Alejandro because she could imagine what it would be like to lose her own parent and sibling. But it was different when it came to talking about the child that almost was. The only experience that the blonde had in that department was with Destiny, but even then it was different. She knew it would hurt to lose the child, but she couldn't imagine losing her if she were—genetically—hers.
"Gabriella, I don't really know what to tell you except that you should talk to Troy."
She pulled back. "And tell him what?"
"I don't know, but he still needs to know this. At least if he knows, you two could figure something out for the long run."
"But what...what if he doesn't want to be with me anymore?"
Sharpay smirked. "That won't happen. He's crazy about you."
"He's also crazy about kids." She ran a hand through her hair before playing with the ends. "He's crazy about them, he wants them, he..." She turned to Sharpay, "he'll be crushed if he finds out that I'm not ready to have them and don't know when I'll ever be."
"You two could always adopt."
"Yeah, I-I guess so."
"But, in the mean time, you need to talk to Troy."
"Talk to me about what?"
Both girls looked up, but it was the nervous look in Gabriella's eyes that caused his smile to slowly slip off his face. Removing, Destiny from his shoulders, he looked expectantly at his girlfriend; waiting for her to say something. Sighing, she stood and went in the direction of the glass door that led to the patio. Troy followed, closing the door on his way out.
"Gabriella, what's going on?"
Keeping her back to him, she tried to think of the different ways that she could break this to him, but each came with the same result: rejection. She didn't want to hear the words that would come from his lips once she told him her fears.
"Can I ask you something?"
"Sure; what is it?"
"How...how much does having kids mean to you?"
"It means a lot to me. Why?"
"I-I..." She couldn't do it; she couldn't tell him. "I'm sorry. I can't."
Leaving him lost and confused, she wandered down the staircase that led to the private beach, owned by the Evans family. She wrapped her arms around her body, trying to hold herself together and not break down and cry.
She didn't stop. As much as she wanted to, she couldn't.
"Gabriella, wait." He grabbed her arm and forced her to come to a stop. "Talk to me, Gabriella. Tell me what's wrong?"
"I..." Reluctantly, she looked up; tears lining her eyes. "You deserve someone better than me."
"What? What are you talking about?"
"I love you, Troy, but I don't...I don't think we'll be able to work. I'm sorry."
She tore her arm from his grip and ran off. Troy stared after her; shocked, confused and hurt. He didn't understand what was going on with his girlfriend, but he intended to find out. As he started off in the direction she took off in, a hand on his arm caught him before he could. He turned and found himself staring into the caramel eyes of his girlfriend's best friend.
Sharpay smiled sadly at him and said, "Let her go. She just...needs some time to herself."
She grabbed his arm and pulled him back towards the house. Reluctantly, he followed; turning his head around every few steps to see if Gabriella had reappeared.
Where was she? It was well past sundown and, yet, she hadn't returned. He was beginning to worry about her. Staring out the glass door, Troy scanned the beach below for any sign of his girlfriend. But there was none. She was out there alone; who knows what might have happened to her. If she wasn't back in ten minutes, he would go out looking for her. He nodded his head, deciding that such an act was a good idea.
"She's fine, you know."
"How can you be so sure?"
Sharpay stepped up to him. "Because I know her. Right now, she's going through something and, when she's ready, she'll come back and talk to you."
He turned to her. "Why does she think I would be better off with someone else?"
Biting her lip, she shrugged. "I can't really say."
"Because, Troy...it'll be better if you find out yourself."
"What if she doesn't tell me?"
"She will; just give her time."
Nodding, he turned his eyes back to the darkened horizon; only faint light from the city limits providing any illumination for him to see with. Out of the darkness, he could make out the outline of his girlfriend as she approached the staircase. Sharpay, knowing that the couple needed to talk things over alone, suggested to Chad and Destiny that they have a family night out. Before Gabriella could reach the glass doors, the three were gone; leaving him alone with her.
She looked away as she played with her hair. "C-Can we talk?"
"Are you gonna run again?"
She shook her head. "No."
He motioned for her to follow him and she did; matching his every footstep. They walked into the living room in complete silence and took a seat. Gabriella kept her eyes down.
Sighing, he took her hand. "Talk to me, Gabriella; tell me what's wrong?"
She sniffed and looked at him. "I'm scared."
"Scared of what?"
"Of what you'll say."
"Why would you be afraid of what I might say?"
"Because..." She lowered her gaze, "I don't think you'll like what I have to tell you."
"What is this about?"
"W-Would it bother you if I-I told you that I don't think I can have kids."
His body tensed. "What do you mean? D-Did something happen during the miscarriage to prevent you from having kids? Or did you...you know, get your tubes tied or something?"
She shook her head. "No, it's nothing like that."
Sighing heavily, she said, "I'm not sure if I can ever have kids because I'm afraid that I'll have another miscarriage."
"Gabriella, you miscarried because you had no idea you were pregnant. You were wrought with grief and it clouded over your mind; it caused you not to recognize the changes your body was going through." He squeezed her hand. "The next time, you'll see the signs and you'll be ready."
"But what if I don't? What if I...?"
"Stop." She silenced herself. "Look, at the moment, having children is far from my mind. Right now, I just want to be with you and have you all to myself for as long as I can. When you're ready, then we'll try, but, for now, let's just focus on us."
"But what if I'm never ready?"
He stroked her cheek. "Then I'll deal with it."
She was speechless. The way he looked at Destiny, the way he treated her, made it glaringly obvious that he wanted to have kids. They always say that some men are born to be fathers and some learn to be. Well, Troy was born with paternal instincts. He would make a great father, yet, here he was...denying himself the chance to be one.
"How can you be so accepting of this? I mean...you could be with someone who would give you a child in a heartbeat without any fears of what might happen."
Nodding, he ran his thumb over her lower lip. "True, but she wouldn't be you."
Brown met blue as she lifted her eyes. He held her gaze before smiling and closing the space between them. He kissed her softly and lovingly.
Pulling back, he looked into her eyes and whispered, "It doesn't matter if we ever have kids or not, because, either way, I'll always love you."
"But you deserve to get a fresh start; deserve to have a family to call your own."
"I have one." He traced his fingers over her jaw, enjoying the feeling of her skin beneath his. "Not too long ago, you told me that you're my family." A small smirk graced his lips. "You may not be much, but you are...and you're all the family I'll ever want or need."
Finally, after what seemed like forever, a tiny smile appeared on her face. His smirk transformed into a smile as he watched her lips upturn.
"There's the smile I love so much."
Her smile widened and she moved so she could sit on his lap. Softly sighing, she leaned her head against his shoulder and listened to his heart beat. His arms snaked around her and pulled her closer. One day, she hoped, she would give Troy the child he wanted and deserved, but even if she didn't, he would understand and he wouldn't hold it against her. Because of his undying devotion, she promised herself—and him—that she would find some way to get over her fear and start the family that they both needed. But, until that day came, she would enjoy every moment she had with him.