I Would Have Loved You Anyway
Rhoda had just picked Richie up and Mary was starting to prepare dinner. She wanted everything to be perfect, well as close to perfect as she could get. She wanted tonight to be special. She wanted it to be a step in the right direction for them. Even if that meant bringing up painful things from the past.
Mary had played about ten different scenarios over in her head while drive home from work. And almost all of them had the same outcome. Lou would be upset and she would be in tears. In fact she was in tears now just thinking about it. A pregnancy wasn't something that they had planned, it was something that she was actively preventing. But apparently not well enough.
Lou was asleep on the sofa when she got home. She seriously considered not waking him. She also seriously considered not telling him until she got a better handle on her emotions. But that could take a very long time. And she knew she couldn't hide her pregnancy forever.
She did her best to wipe at her tears as she sat down on the coffee table."Lou." she placed her hand on his shoulder and gently nudged him. "Wake up."
He stirred a little under her touch. "What time is it?" he never opened his eyes. "I can't believe I made it home before you did. Where you been?"
"Sitting in my office, thinking."
His eyes opened. "Thinking about what?" he asked. "You've been crying."
She was about to bite the bullet. It was better just to tell him now and get it over with she decided. "Thinking about how to tell you I'm pregnant."
He was quiet and she was fearing the worst. Silence lingered for a few long moments. Moments that felt like a lifetime to her. "Well." he breathed out. "What did you come up with?"
"I thought about not telling you." she replied. "And once I realized that probably wasn't a viable option I thought just coming right out with it would be best."
Lou nodded. "I think so too." he said, sitting up. "You know how I like things to be straight forward and direct." he reached for her hand. "A baby, huh? We weren't planning this, were we?"
"Planning?" she repeated. "Don't you think you would have been in on the planning?"
He shrugged. "I figured that was more your department." he said. "But I don't remember you saying anything about wanting to have a baby."
"That's because I didn't."
"You didn't?" he repeated. "You didn't say anything or you didn't want a baby?"
"I didn't say anything." she clarified. "I also didn't plan on having a baby. It was...a surprise."
"So you're not happy?" he asked. "You don't want to do this?"
"It's not that I don't want to." she started. "It's just that I'm scared. You know how nice and neatly I like things planned out. And besides I was unsure of how you were going to take the news."
Lou nodded. "Did you think I would be mad?"
"I wasn't sure."
"How can I be mad?" he asked. "It takes two to make a baby."
"I can't believe you're okay with this."
"Maybe because I just naturally assumed that you probably would want to have a baby."
"Then why didn't we ever talk about it?"
"I'm not sure." he said. "But you're pregnant now so the rest really doesn't matter. For the record I am happy. And I hope you are too."
"I'm sure I'll be fine once the shock wears off."
Lou arrived at her apartment a little after six. He was clean shaven and dressed the way his wife like him to be dressed. In clean, well pressed, clothing. He presented her with a bottle of wine. The thought of flowers crossed his mind, but he didn't want to get ahead of himself. They talked a little about the events of their day as she finished making dinner.
There was an unfamiliar awkwardness between them. One that linger thickly in the air. They made small talk and light pleasantries throughout dinner. Spaghetti and meatballs, his favorite. Or so it use to be. Tonight he kind of pushed the noodles around on his plate. He really wasn't even bothered about his glass of wine.
Mary watched him intently from across the table. "Something wrong?"
"No." he raised his eyes to meet hers. "It's very good."
"Thank you." she replied. "I wasn't sure with the way you've been avoiding eating it."
Lou looked down at his plate and back up at her. "Uh, I guess I'm just not that hungry." he placed his fork down on his plate. "I haven't had much of an appetite lately." he took his napkin out of his lap and laid it on the table. "What are we doing here, Mary?"
"Well I thought we were having dinner." she said. "And I thought we were going to talk about things."
"I don't know if you've noticed but we're not really talking."
"Oh, I've noticed." she reached for her glass of wine and took a sip. "The long pauses in conversation were a dead giveaway. Question is what you do want to do about it? Do you want to sit here in silence and give up? Or do you want to start talking and fight for our marriage?"
Lou got up from the table and reached for her hand. "We're going to fight."
Her hand slid into his and she rose to her feet. "I was beginning to think you'd given up." she smiled. "I'm glad to see that I was wrong."
"I have to admit that until this afternoon giving up seemed like a really good option." he confessed. "Actually it seemed like the only option."
"I've been too stubborn to listen to reason." she said. "And that stops now. After I ran into you in the park I did a lot of thinking and I realized that leaving wasn't the best idea. But it's made me realize just how much I need you and how wrong I was for shutting you out. It put everything into perspective."
"Does that mean you're ready to talk?"
"Yes." she replied. "I'm ready."
Lou led them over to the sofa and they sat down. "I'm not trying to rush you." he told her. "I would just really like to have my wife back."
"I know." she said. "And I want to come home. I want things to go back to the way there were before everything got so out of control."
"We can pack your things and leave here tonight if you want."
"You mean that?"
"Of course." he replied. "I just want us to be open and honest with each other first. Do you think we can do that?"
"But first." he said as he moved closer to her. "First I have to do this." he inched in and gently kissed her lips. "Now that's much better."
Mary pulled him back to her and kissed him again. Their kiss was soft and slow and sweet. "That's more like it." she said, pulling hack. "I've missed you so much."
"I've missed you too." he said. "I didn't like being in our house all alone."
"I've hated it here." she confessed. "I've spent most of my evenings at the office and at Rhoda and Dave's."
"Well now you don't have to avoid coming home." he smiled. "Especially not when I'll be there waiting for you. I want us to start over with no secrets between us."
"I fired John." she told him. "It's not that I felt like he was a threat to our relationship, but I felt like he crossed a line that he shouldn't have and that's not the way I want to run my newsroom."
"I don't care about John." he said. "I knew that he didn't mean anything to you."
"It didn't mean anything when he kissed me either." she said. "I know that I may have implied that it did, but it didn't. Noone has ever kissed me the way you have and noone ever will."
Lou smiled. "I love you." he said. "I don't ever want you to doubt that."
"I don't." she assured him. "I never have."
"I want to talk about the baby." he said. "And I mean really talk about it because not talking about it has led us here."
Mary nodded. "I know.' she breathed out. "I'm sorry for shutting you out."
In the nine days that she had known about her pregnancy she was beginning to warm up to the idea of being a mother. Of having another life depend on her. Having a baby with the man she loved seemed like a good idea. Like something that she actually wanted to do instead of something that just happened. But promises were shattered when fate reared its ugly head and she lost the baby.
It had been three days. Three long, excruciating days since it happened. The doctor told her that if she miscarried this early in the pregnancy, less than eight weeks, that there was a reason. Miscarriage was a common occurrence the doctor assured her. And in a few months after she healed if they would like to try again they could.
Mary was in bed. And she had been there since she came home from the hospital the evening before. Bed was warm and comforting and where she wanted to be. There she didn't have to deal with the outside world. Luckily for her not too many people knew about her pregnancy. Just Rhoda and her parents.
Lou sat down on the edge of the bed, next to her. He was hoping that they could talk. There was so much going on in the hospital that they didn't get a chance to really talk. "Can I get you anything?"
"Are you sure?"
"I'm fine, Lou." she insisted.
"I want to be here with you."
Mary turned over onto her side, turning her back to him. "I just want to be alone for a while."
He leaned over her so he could see her face. "You're not in this alone." he tried to assure her. "I love you and I want to be here for you."
"Please, Lou." she breathed out. "I just want to lay here alone and in silence."
He took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. "Fine." he said, getting up off the bed. "Just let me know if you need anything, okay." He didn't get a reply of any kind. So he did just what she asked him to. He left their bedroom. Little did he know it would be one of the biggest mistakes in their relationship.
When he left the tears finally came. Sure she had cried when the miscarriage happened. He had cried too. They cried together. But now she was alone and she was finally able to let all of it out. She felt like it was something that she had to do alone. And so she did. The next morning she got up, got ready for the day, and closed the door on that particularly painful chapter of her life.
Lou pulled her closer to him. "I know that you were scared about having a baby in the first place." he said. "But you seemed to be warming up to the idea."
"I was getting used to the idea." she admitted. "And after I lost the baby I felt guilty because when I found out I was pregnant it was the last thing I wanted. I was caught completely off guard. I kind of felt like it was punishment."
"The doctor said it wasn't your fault." he reminded her. "Sometimes these things just happen."
"At the time I knew that in my head, but not in my heart." she confessed. "It just hurt too much."
"And now I know it just wasn't meant to be." she said. "Everything happens for a reason."
"Do you want to try again?" he asked. "Do you want to have baby?"
"I don't know how to answer that."
Lou nodded. "Just be honest."
"I don't think it's fair to you." she told him. "I don't think that you should have to start over. You've raised your children and you have grandchildren. To start all over with a pregnant wife and then a newborn would be terribly unfair to you."
"I don't think it would be all that unfair." he said. "What would be unfair is denying you the chance to have a child simply because I already have children. So the only real question here is, do you want to have a baby?"
"Yes." she said, without hesitation. "I don't think I realized how much until after I had the miscarriage. I thought that point in my life had passed me by, but I realized it hadn't. I would like to try again."
"I think that's fair enough."
"Yeah, I just can't believe it took this long for me to want to talk about it.' she told him. "Makes the past few months seem kind of pointless."
"Hindsight is twenty-twenty." he said. "But I think we've learnt a very important lesson here."
"I think so too." she replied. "No matter what's going on we should always be open and honest with each other. I love you, very much."
"I love you, too." he said. "For the first time in a long time everything feels right. I mean I know we have some things to still work through, but this is a really good start. I feel like we're going to make it after all." he said. "In fact I'm starting to get my appetite back."
Mary smiled. "I'll reheat dinner."