The apartment was spinning. It was. She was sure of it. From the moment she opened her eyes something washed completely over her. It was like she was on a never ending merry-go-round. She closed her eyes tightly hoping that would keep the nausea at bay. She was wrong. Dead wrong. She bolted for the bathroom.
The first sound she heard as she made her way back into the land of the living, at least the land of the still, was the buzzing of her alarm clock. Why she bothered to set it she didn't know. For the past three days the events taking place in her body woke her up twenty minutes before the alarm. The events that she could no longer ignore.
The night of Ted's birthday party flooded back to her. Paul picking her up to go, listening to his dull conversation, and ultimately quickly kissing him goodnight so that Mr. Grant could drive her home.
And that was the night that Mr. Grant became Lou. However briefly it was, he was Lou. They made love that night. Once. And once was all it took. They were both relatively sober, perhaps just a little tipsy.
And it wasn't until their lovemaking was over that Mary realized that there had been no means of contraception between them. A sobering experience in itself. It was the first time in the seventeen years that she had been sexually active that she had failed to prevent pregnancy.
It was quickly decided that there wouldn't be any long lasting consequences. As though they could will it to not happen. Their night together was put behind them and forgotten. And it was forgotten. For almost four weeks. Until now. Until she could no longer ignore the fact that she was late. The fact that she was battling morning sickness. The fact that she was indeed pregnant. And by her boss no less.
It wasn't something she could discuss with him at work. It was something that had to be done outside the office. And she just wanted to get it over with. So she called him up, praying that he hadn't left for the office yet. Twenty minutes later he was knocking on her door.
"What's wrong?" he asked, coming inside. "You sounded panicked on the phone."
She was still deciding on how to tell him. And she decided that there really was no good way. It was just something she needed to tell him and get it over with. "You should sit."
Lou was suddenly uneasy. "I think I'll stand." there were tears in her eyes, he could see them glistening. "What's wrong?" he asked again. "You can tell me. You can tell me anything." he wanted to be supportive. He did. He was just having a difficult time breathing at the moment in fear of what she was going to say.
He realized that his actions were making her nervous. He reached out for her hands, holding them tightly in his. "Are you okay?"
"No." the tears came spilling forth.
"It's okay." he did his best to dry her tears. "Oh, Mary, it's okay. I'm here for you, always. No matter what, okay?"
Mary nodded in silence, trying to stop herself from crying. "God, I hope you mean that."
"I do." he assured her. "Just tell me." he needed to hear her say the words. He needed for her to confirm what he already knew.
"I think I'm pregnant." saying the words aloud made it even more terrifying for her. The tears had turned into full fledged sobs. He held her in his arms, softly rubbing her back.
When her cries had subsided he pressed a kiss to her cheek. "It's okay, it's going to be okay."
"How can you say that?" she sobbed. "How?"
"Because it is." he was confident in that. Things always had a way of working out. "First off we need to get you a doctors appointment and make sure." he said. "Then we'll take things from there."
Mary pulled back to look at him, her face tear stained and red. "I'm sorry." she whispered.
"Sorry?" he repeated. "You have nothing to be sorry for. The last time I checked it took two people to make a baby."
"Do you think I should have an a..." she didn't even get the word out.
"No!" his voice was firm. "Absolutely not." that wasn't even an option for him. But maybe it was for her. He didn't want to upset her, but he didn't want to feel like he was controlling her. And their situation. "Unless that's what you want I mean it's your body and in the end it's your decision."
Mary nodded. "I don't know." she breathed out. "I don't know what I want or how I feel. I just...I need some time."
Lou understood. He really did. He just wanted her to know that he was going to be there for her. He was just a little shaken up, a little caught off guard, but he was a man of his word.
"Are you okay?" she asked.
"Fine." his gruff exterior was almost bulletproof. It was his inner feelings that were reeling.
"It's okay to be scared. I'm terrified." she admitted. "This is not a position I ever thought I would be in. Especially with my boss."
He took her hand and led her to the sofa where they both sat down. "We're going to get through this together." he was trying to assure them both. "How late are you?"
"About ten days. And I've been having morning sickness. Today is the forth day." she averted his gaze. "I'm pretty sure I am. I've never been this late before. A day or two but never a week and a half." this wasn't something she wanted to be discussing with him. "I know that you're not exactly happy about this either."
"Yeah, but I wouldn't say I was unhappy either." he admitted. "This is just as much my responsibility as it is yours."
"It doesn't have to be." she was giving him an option. An easy way out. "You don't have to do this."
"I do." he told her. "You know me, you know the kind of man I am."
"I don't want you to feel obligated." she told him. "That's the last thing I want. We're not together, we never were. It was just a one night stand. You shouldn't feel obligated to a one night stand."
"Mary, you're not a one night stand. You know that. We're friends. We've been friends for five years now."
"That's what it was."
"I don't want you to think of it like that." there was a rawness in his voice. "Look, I know that I said it's your decision in the end. But I want you to have the baby." he thought those were the words she needed to hear.
"But what about your kids? Your grandchildren?"
"Mary, I want you to have the baby." he said, again. Just as firmly as before.
She was pregnant. Almost six weeks. It was one thing to know you were pregnant, but it was completely different for the doctor to confirm it. It was so much more real. Lou had been with her throughout the entire examination. He even held her hand when he thought she needed his support.
Afterwards they stopped off and had her prescription for prenatal vitamins filled. And then continued to drive back to her apartment in silence.
He slipped off his coat and hung it up. They were close before, in their friendship. And now it was almost like they were strangers. "Are you sure you don't want to get some lunch?"
"I'm sure." she headed into the closet to hang her coat up. "I think I'm just going to lay down for a while." she made her way down the two steps and into the living area where he was sitting in the chair. "It's been a long morning."
"I'll go then and let you get some rest." he rose to his feet. "If you need anything, anything at all, just call me. I'm going to grab some lunch and then head back to the office." he felt as though she should know where he was.
Mary nodded. "Thanks." she replied. "I just need to be alone for a little while. You understand, don't you?"
"Sure." but he didn't. He didn't understand why she was holding him at arms length. They should be getting closer, not further apart. He reached out for her hand. "Mary?" he wanted her attention. He wanted her to look him in the eyes.
"Yes, Lou." her brown eyes met his.
"I want the baby. Very much. I know I've told you several times. I just get the feeling that you don't quite believe me." he told her. "Is that it? You don't believe me? Or don't you want the baby?"
"No, I want the baby." her response was immediate. "More than I've ever wanted anything in my entire life. It's just that...everything is so complicated. People are going to be asking questions soon and everything is going to be completely out in the open."
He understood her fears. And he had the perfection solution for most of them. "I want you to marry me."
She smiled, slightly. "Thank you for trying to protect what's left of my virtue." she said. "But you really don't need to be making marriage proposals."
"I'm serious." he told her. "I want you and I to do this together. I want this baby to know that he or she has two parents that are committed to their happiness."
"I don't think marriage is the answer." she said. "But I appreciate the white knight offer."
"There's no white knight complex on my end." he assured her. "Look it doesn't have to be a permanent thing. Just until we get through the pregnancy and the birth." it didn't quite come out the way he had hoped. But his offer was sincere.
"I'm not sure I like the idea of marriage with a pending divorce date."
"Then we won't set one." he said. "Please, Mary, let me do this. For us. For our family. Let me show you how committed I am to you and to this baby."
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