Imagine 'A Tale in Two Cities' – if David had been home to pick up the phone to Maddie when she called in the middle of the night to tell him she was pregnant...
Feeling utterly dazed, Maddie made the long climb up the stairs towards her childhood bedroom. She had not even been able to confide in her father, who always instinctively knew when something was not right with his daughter, about the pregnancy. She felt terrible about keeping this from him but how could she explain what she was feeling when she didn't know herself.
At times, she imagined that she had this mess worked out, at others, it all appeared a scrambled muddle: her life lying in tatters at her feet. One minute she was ready to pick up the phone and tell David that she was ready to come home; and the next minute she had assigned their 'relationship' to a cemetery space in the graveyard of lost causes. If only she could make up her mind and find peace.
She had only made it halfway up the staircase, when she felt her legs buckle and give way beneath her. She gripped the stair rail and allowed herself to fall into a seated position. Maybe tonight had been too much. The party; her parents concern; meeting the neighborhood doctor; sneaking out to his office for a quick check up... and finding out the truth. The truth.
She was pregnant...
There it was again, a wave of mental exhaustion sweeping through her body; she was thankful that she was sitting down. Did this make everything more complicated? She looked around her at the silent house: darkness below her, darkness above her, darkness surrounding her.
She was surprised at her own quiet acceptance of this pregnancy. Deep down she was enthralled by the knowledge that she had a tiny human being growing inside of her; it was something she had been afraid that she may never experience. Given her track record of failed relationships, she had visions of finding herself alone in old age- the irony of being a beautiful woman who could not find love. A spinster. Now she knew she'd never be alone. She smiled to herself and instinctively put a protective hand to her belly.
It was at this moment, with the moonlight streaking through the top-landing window, that the whole experience felt magical. This was actually beautiful news and she vehemently wished to share it with someone. It did not feel right to knock on her parents' door in the still of the night and besides, this fresh news was not for their ears. No. Surely she should be ringing the father?
Maddie felt an unexpected knot form in the pit of her stomach- tight and unyielding. Her body felt hot and uncomfortable like she wanted to become free of it and fly off into that moonlight. The father could be one of two men in her life. There lay the problem. She allowed her mind to drift, images of their faces formed, she was unable to focus on the first man because the second's face was the stronger of the two. David. It had to be David's.
How could she be sure? One night she had found herself sleeping with Sam, the safe, the nice, the comfortable love-making- marred by the fact that she could not get David out of her heart; the very next night she had fallen into David's arms and it had been passionate, desperate and all-consuming. She had stayed in David's arms for at least a month after that. Still she could not be entirely sure. She sighed, long, deep and full of sadness. This is not what happens to Maddie Hayes.
As she sat on the step, hugging her knees, she asked herself a simple question: if I were to pick up the phone now and call one of them – who would I want to be the one to hear this news? She had her answer.
Gingerly, she pulled herself back into a standing position, all the while making sure that she did not make a sound. One creaking step could bring her father, or mother rushing out of the bedroom to confront why she was up at this time of night: the fussing, the concern, the interruption. She made sure that she held the balcony rail tightly as she made her careful way back to the comfort of her bedroom. The bedroom was where, as a teenage girl, she had made so many life-changing decisions. It was Ironic that she was now facing one of the biggest changes in her life and she was right back where she started.
Sitting on the edge of her bed, Maddie stared at the phone for quite some time. It was as if she were trying to fill herself full of courage; she didn't even know if she should be doing this at all. All she knew was that this felt right. That's all she had right now.
David Addison was flat on his stomach, mouth open, snoring...it had been a long night. He had almost done something last night that he might have regretted for the rest of his life. Believe it or not, it had been Bert Viola that had helped him to see sense. The two of them had driven off into the night to blow off some steam! One Tequila shot had led to another Tequila shot and before they both knew it, they were sat in a too hot hot-tub sipping on Margaritas with two attractive women in tow.
How easy would it have been to just forget Maddie for one, long glorious night of freedom – she'd left him for Christ's sake, surely he deserved some kind of payback? No, that would not have been right. David knew himself too well, he could even picture himself walking back home under the pale yellow moon, coat slung over his shoulder; regretting the deed once it was too late to rewind the tape. Bert had been right, he had caught David off-guard with his talk of Agnes and how he couldn't do this to her, the woman he loved. He was right, of course...but he still hurt. He hurt all over.
The sudden ringing of the phone interrupted his heavy sleep and, at first, he was irritated by it.
Maddie let the phone ring for a long while until it reached voice mail: 'Hi, this is David Addison, I'm clearly not in right now so that means I'm probably having a better time than you on the floor of a bar somewhere...please leave a message after the tone... beeeeeeeep'
'David? It's Maddie...'
David sat bolt upright and grabbed for the phone, knocking over his alarm clock and disturbing the glass of water by his bed-side in his haste. 'Maddie?' he cried out. 'Don't hang up!'
'Maddie, you're still there?' his voice was laced with desperation and he automatically put a hand through his hair, a nervous habit that left his hair stood up in angry tufts.
'Yes,' her voice sounded small, distant. 'Did I wake you?'
'Yes but that's okay,' he stuttered. 'It's good to hear your voice.' His heart pounded in his chest.
'Good to hear you,' Maddie echoed, feeling awkward as the weight of her news pinned her down, making her body feel heavy. She looked out at the full moon wondering if David was also looking at this miracle of nature too- was it lighting his bedroom like it lit her one: a cold, blue, eerie light.
'Is everything okay?' he sounded concerned. 'It's late Maddie, it's been two weeks and then you call me up in the middle of the night...'
'Sorry,' she apologised.
David's fresh wave of anger at her avoidance dissipated immediately as he heard her quiet, lost, almost girlish voice. He was suddenly filled with fresh love, longing, affection for this voice on the other side of the phone. 'Don't be,' he replied softly, 'just talk to me Maddie.'
'How was your day?' she asked, aware of the banality of the question and wishing that she could take it back.
'I've had better,' David responded with honesty. 'Agnes told me that MacGillercuddy was getting it in the neck in your office this morning and for one moment...I thought you were back...' he let his voice trail off, not wanting to expose the true extent of his disappointment when he had found Bert with MacGillercuddy and not her. It had killed him.
Maddie managed a subdued laugh, 'yeah, well, someone has to keep you all in check.'
'What about you?' David asked, so aware that he could say the wrong thing at any moment and she would hang up. To hear her voice right now was like being given that moon that shone, without mercy, into his bedroom, lighting up the room with a blue halo. He wondered if she could see it too, from where she was calling.
'Me?' her voice sounded shaky.
'Thee,' prompted David, detecting an edge to her words.
'Well, 'she began and her voice trailed off into silence.
'Maddie, just in case you forgot, this is a phone call so I can't see your facial expressions - they haven't invented those kinds of phones yet so you're gonna have to help me out with good old fashioned words,' David filled the silence.
'Well,' she began again, 'I...'
'Maddie?' He was beginning to feel anxious, he could detect that she was about to drop some kind of A Bomb on him again. Could he take this?
'I...' she started to cry softly.
'Maddie,' David interrupted her with the softest of voices, 'you're breaking my heart here. I can't see you, I can't hold you...I feel helpless. Please tell me what's bothering you.'
'David,' she tried to pull herself together. 'David, I got some news today.'
'Okaaaaay,' he helped, 'what kind of news Maddie?' He was feeling nervous and alert all at once, and shifted himself into a sitting position: or the brace position if you like.
'David, I'm...pregnant.' She let the silence fill the air between them.
An eternity of silence passed.
'Well?' Maddie sniffed, 'say something will you?'
'A baby?' David found his voice, it was rough and broken.
'Yes David, a baby,' Maddie regained control but then started to ramble: 'I wanted you to know first before I told anyone else. I don't know why but it just felt like the right thing to do. I mean, I don't even know if it's yours but, I dunno, something tells me it could be yours, it's more likely to be yours because we...well, you know and well, I couldn't face the other possibility so I decided to call you and now I'm not sure if I've done the right thing and I...'
'Maddie stop,' David attempted to stop the steam roller of words. 'You did the right thing.'
'I did?' she sounded lost and bewildered.
'You did,' he soothed, his voice betraying his emotions. 'I'm glad you called me.'
'You are?' she sounded relieved. 'You're not mad with me?'
'Mad with you? Why on earth would I be mad with you?'
'David I haven't called you in two weeks and then I phone up and tell you this,' her voice was fragile again.
'A baby,' David repeated to himself and shook his head.
'I know,' Maddie smiled. 'It felt like a good thing despite the terrible mess...I wanted to share it with you.'
'Wow Maddie,' David whispered. 'A baby...'
'You know,' her voice changed, 'it might not be yours.'
David went silent again for awhile, thinking, absorbing, until he finally said, 'I'm still really happy that you called me with this Maddie. I think it's an amazing thing...'
'I guess I called the right person then,' she stifled tears again. 'What if it's not?'
'What if it is?' David smiled and could feel Maddie smiling right back at him.
Deep down, embedded within the warm caverns of their hearts, they both knew it must be... it was a sign that perhaps, maybe, things would be alright between them. Nature had spoken.