AN: Hi Everyone! This is a new HeYa fic I've been thinking about for a while. Let me know what you think; chapter 2 is ready to be published but I want to wait for a few reviews first... If you want to follow me on tumblr, it's pocketdragon . tumblr . com
Keep Your Head Up, Keep Your Heart Strong
She didn't like people to make a fuss over her. Especially when she felt like this. The drive to work had felt excruciatingly long and, by the time she made it to the make-up department, she was exhausted. She let the woman powder, blush and paint her face to make her look remotely normal.
'Late night, was it?' she enquired with a cheeky smile. Naya simply nodded; it was the easiest way of explaining her drawn expression, pale face and tired eyes.
Filming was even more painful than she could have imagined. It was clear that Ryan wasn't happy with the way she was performing as he criticised her loudly in front of the whole cast. She didn't have the energy to cry, or even to process what he was saying to her. With a deep breath, she got up and began the scene again. When everyone was satisfied with their work, she picked up her bag and walked wearily towards her trailer.
It took everything she had simply to put one foot in front of the other. Reaching her trailer door, she pressed her weight against it and forced it open. With barely enough energy left to support herself standing up, she gave in.
Naya's Range Rover was still sat unoccupied in the parking lot when Dianna finished her scenes for the day. She had seen the small Latina making her way to her trailer, but figured that she would be long gone by now. With her mind full of scenarios that could explain the girl's lethargy and strange behaviour on set that morning, she made her way to the back of the lot. Peering through the side window, it was clear that the lights were off and nobody was moving. Quietly, she climbed the small set of steps and opened the door.
Naya was adorable when she looked like this. With her head resting on an old cushion and a blanket covering her small frame, she appeared much younger than her years. Dianna approached with silent footsteps and knelt down at the side of the couch. With one hand gently stroking her hair, she spoke softly. 'Nay, time to wake up.'
Naya blinked to allow her eyes to adjust to the light. Dianna didn't stop stroking her hair until she tried to sit up. 'Oh shit' were the first words to escape her lips as she scanned around the room. 'What happened?' Dianna smiled sweetly at the girl, her dark hair sticking up adorably from the back of her head. 'Sweetie, are you feeling okay? You look kind of pale'. Naya simply shook her head, a look of helplessness on her tired face. 'Wanna come back to mine with Lea? We can take care of you.'
It took all of her energy to prop herself up on her feet, despite Dianna's guiding hands helping her along the way. When they reached Dianna's car, Lea was there to help secure her into the seat before taking her car keys and promising to follow them home in Naya's car, rather than risk leaving it alone on the lot overnight.
It took the strength of the two of them to get Naya into the apartment, into some comfortable clothes and into Lea's bed. Once she was there, the girl closed her heavy eyelids and fell back to sleep. After they had tucked her in, kissed her forehead and switched off the light, the girls headed back to the living room to relax.
'Di, I'm worried about her. Do you know if anything is going on?' Dianna shook her head as she served up dinner onto two plates; 'if she had something going on, we'd know. The girl wears her heart on her sleeve.' Lea nodded, agreeing with the blonde as she began to eat her meal. 'Yeah, I know. I'm just worried that she's hiding something. She's clearly not feeling great and she doesn't look happy either. Should we talk to her?' Dianna looked concerned at the idea of confrontation, but agreed nonetheless. She could never really say no to the tiny brunette with the eyes-wide smile.
Naya hovered at the top of the stairs, unsure of what would face her in Lea and Dianna's living room. Deciding to bite the bullet, she headed down. 'Hey Naya. How are you feeling?' Lea's sweet tone greeted her as she made her way to the couch and settled down next to her. Unsure of how to respond, she just shrugged. 'Nay, I think you should talk to us. What happened today wasn't normal for you. We were really worried. Well, we still are.' Naya stared at her, unable to help the blank expression painting her face, 'I don't know. I just don't feel great that's all.'
'Naya, you need to be honest with us. Are you pregnant?' Dianna shot a look at Lea, whose blunt comment had shocked both herself and a still weak Naya. 'Sorry' she said quietly, pouting a little at the two other girls, 'it had to be said.' Naya nodded slowly. 'You are?' Dianna sounded shocked. Naya shook her head equally slowly, not quite managing to disguise wince at the pain as she moved. 'Impossible' she whispered, 'it's been too long.' Lea raised an eyebrow; she had always been under the impression that Naya was getting more than any of them. 'I'm not pregnant' she reiterated, slightly louder.
The following week, Naya was still struggling to get through a full day of work. She made herself force a few spoons of cereal into her body, knowing full well that it wouldn't be enough but resigning herself to the fact that it was the most she could manage. Definitely sure that she couldn't drive to work feeling so crap, she put in an order for a taxi so as not to burden any of her friends. It wasn't that she didn't want to be around them, but she really did hate them worrying so much. She wasn't sure what the matter was, but she half-convinced herself that with time, and extra sleep, she would get better.
'Hey, honey!' A nasal voice shouted from her trailer door as she prepared for her first scene. 'Come in!' she tried to match the voice she would normally put on, but couldn't quite do it. 'Hey Nay, are you almost ready?' Kevin walked into her trailer and made himself at home on one of her chairs. 'Yeah' she said with a smile as she gathered up everything she needed for the next few hours. 'Are… are you okay? You look a little pale.' Naya shrugged, she'd been doing a lot of that lately. 'Yeah, Bee. I think I'm just a little stressed out you know?' Kevin placed a friendly hand on hers; 'If you ever need to talk, or anything at all you know where I am'.
As the day went on, she wondered exactly what was wrong with her. Sure, she was stressed but would that explain the nausea, the crippling headaches, the aching limbs, the inability to close her goddamn eyes and sleep for a night? She was sat pushing food around her plate when Heather plonked down in the seat opposite her. 'Nay, have you eaten any of that?' She shook her head as much as she could. Heather looked dejected. 'Naya, please try and eat something. I've noticed you at meal times. It's really dangerous to go a whole day with nothing in your system, you know that.' Naya nodded. 'I'm trying'. A new sense of determination washed over her as she ripped off a piece of bread and pressed it to her lips.
She didn't know whether it was the smell, or just another wave of dizziness but she felt herself throw the bread to the floor and run across the seating area to the nearest bathroom. Pushing her way into the nearest cubicle, she collapsed to her knees. Once the contents of her stomach were in the toilet bowl, she fell to the floor exhausted. 'Nay! Oh my God, Naya!' She was barely conscious as the blonde scooped her up and cradled her into her strong arms. 'I've got you sweetie' she said, moving her hair back off her now drenched forehead.
Once she was sitting up and feeling a little more normal, Heather handed her a bottle of water and moved to sit next to her against the bathroom wall. 'Nay, I know you probably don't want me to pry but I have to know. .. Could you be pregnant?' Naya shook her head, trying her hardest to maintain eye contact with the girl as she opened her mouth to speak. 'I can't be. I… I haven't…' She took a sip of water, trying to stop her heart from beating too loud or too fast, 'not since you… not since that night.'
Heather nodded. 'Well, nothing will ever beat that night' she whispered into Naya's ear, causing her to smile shyly. 'I know. It was amazing.' She wasn't sure whether she'd said it out loud, but the laughter that filled her ears told her that she had. For a while, everything was fine. Clearly both thinking back to the night they took things too far, they let themselves think back and giggle about how much they had had to drink and how ridiculous the situation seemed. Naya leaned her head back and attempted to catch her breath. The silence encompassed the both of them, awkward and a little painful. Sitting up to take Heather's hand, Naya felt a familiar sensation rush over and instead rushed back to the cubicle and vomit.
'Ryan? Ryan, it's Heather… Yeah, sorry. We're in the restroom nearest the catering truck. Naya's throwing up and she looks really ill. I don't think she's going to be up to filming anything today… Yeah, sure I'll tell her… Thank you.' Heather hung up the phone and went to sit behind Naya, stroking her back with gentle hands as the brunette rested her spinning head on the toilet seat. 'Nay, I called Ryan. He told me to take you home and put you to bed.' She felt the girl nod beneath her. 'He also said you can have a few days off, on the condition that you call a doctor.'
Despite Naya's protests, Heather drove her home and carried her into the house. Once she was in bed, she pulled Heather in to cuddle her. 'Thanks for doing this. You didn't have to carry me!' Heather smiled, 'I did. I don't think you would have made the stairs by yourself.' Naya nodded in agreement. 'Nay, you really need to call a doctor. It's not a good sign to be feeling like this and it's certainly not normal.' She nodded, squeezing Heather's hand as she buried her head into her pillow. 'Nay.. are you?... Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you cry.' Naya wanted to reply, but the protective hand her best friend placed on the small of her back only made her sob harder. 'I'm scared Heather… I feel awful and I really don't know what's wrong with me…' Heather whispered to her softly as she tucked her into bed: 'Naya, sweetie. Don't be sad. Or scared. I'm here for you, all of us are. I… we love you so much and we're all here to help if you need friends or company or whatever. Shhh.. calm, sweetie. I'm here. I… I know being ill is crap and hard and horrible but you have us and we will always take care of you. Please try and rest for a few days, Nay. You need sleep…'
When she opened her eyes, it was light and Heather was gone. The sound of a door slamming downstairs and footsteps making their way to her room terrified her. As she heard her door open, she closed her eyes tight, body practically glued to the mattress. 'Nay?' The voice was hazy, but she recognised it. As a gentle hand ran over her forehead and through her hair she managed to open her mouth and speak. 'Heather?' she croaked, unsure how far her voice would travel. 'No, Naya. I'm not Heather. It's me, mom.' Naya opened her eyes to look at the woman before here. 'Mommy?' she sounded twenty years younger than she was. 'When did you get here?'
The woman smiled down at her. 'Your friend Heather called me yesterday and I drove down as soon as I could. Naya you should have told me sooner, she sounded so worried and so am I.' Naya managed to prop herself up in bed, wincing slightly at the pain in her back and neck. 'You know I don't like people to worry, mom. And then I didn't really know what to say… Mom, I don't know what's wrong with me at all.' Sensing the pain in her daughter's voice, Yolanda Rivera pulled herself up onto the bed and cradled the girl in her arms. 'Honey, I know I'm your mom and you don't want to talk about things like this with me but are you certain you're not pregnant?'
Naya couldn't help but laugh. 'Mom, you're the third person to ask that in a week.' The woman shrugged; 'Well with the nausea and the vomiting and the not eating, it was only natural to assume…' 'Mom' Naya cut her off, 'why does everyone assume that I have enough sex to be getting pregnant?' A little confused at the question, Yolanda took a deep breath before answering. 'I don't know, honey. I don't think it's a reflection on you. I'm sure everyone thought, like I did, that it was the simplest explanation for how you've been acting and feeling recently. Why, what did you think they meant?'
'That they think I'm a slut.'
'Naya Marie! Why would anyone think that?' The younger girl shrugged. 'Mom, I don't know. I mean… I know you don't want to hear this, but it's been a while. I just can't understand why people assume that, just because I'm single, I'm spending every night under a different man.' Yolanda couldn't help but laugh at her daughter, even if she was still deathly pale. 'Honey, you think too much. How about coming downstairs with your old ma and watching some TV to make you feel better?' Naya simply nodded and offered her hand for her mom to help her down the stairs.
Once she was settled on the sofa, surrounded by cushions and blankets, her mom sat down next to her and turned on the TV. 'What do you fancy watching, sweetie?' Naya shrugged. 'Let's see what's on your DVR… hmm… Nay, you really are my daughter aren't you? Okay, Teen Mom 2 or Real Housewives of Orange County?' Naya smiled up at her mom, 'either, you choose.'
During the commercial break, Yolanda got up to make herself some food and try to find something that Naya could try and eat. Settling on some dry crackers and a small portion of chicken soup, she emerged and placed them on the coffee table in front of her weary daughter. 'Please try and eat something honey' she said, before she was disturbed by the phone ringing. 'I'll get that; you stay here and make an attempt on some food.'
Naya picked up the cracker, looking at it and thinking about what it would taste like before deciding she couldn't stomach it. Instead, she picked up the mug in front of her and took a slow sip of the hot soup. The way it moved down her throat was comforting and made her feel a little better. By the time her mom had hung up the phone and moved back to the living room, there was only about half of it left. 'Well done, baby. I'm glad you're trying to eat. I think we were all a little worried you might have an eating disorder or something'. Naya smiled at the complete inaccuracy of that idea; 'Mom. I'm a Rivera. There's no way I'd ever not eat by choice. I… I just can't stomach anything too big or difficult to chew at the moment. I don't know why. But thanks for the soup, it has worked a little.'
'I'm glad, baby girl. Now, that was Heather on the phone. She wanted to know how you were. I told her you hadn't been up long and that you'd call later if you were up to it. That okay?' Naya nodded, turning away from her mom. 'Nay, baby? Is everything okay?' It was too much to hide. It was all getting too much. Before she knew what she was doing, Naya was crying into her mom's shoulder. 'Shhh, Naya. Shhh baby' she said, using the calming voice that had always seemed to work on her kids when they were upset or worked up about something. Once the sobbing had subsided, she motioned for Naya to look at her. 'Okay, I get that you're ill and that you're worried about yourself but what else is going on here? This isn't like you at all. It's worrying me. Talk.'
Naya took a deep breath and readjusted herself on the sofa. 'Mom… I don't… it's complicated'. Yolanda smiled at her daughter; 'Naya, I raised two teenage girls. I know how to deal with complicated.' Naya smiled, 'I know mom. It's just…' She let out a deep breath and encouraged herself to continue, '…it's Heather.'
She could still remember the first time she realised it was something more than friendship, the first time her touch tingled in a way she didn't expect it to. They had been best friends since the first week of filming and it had all felt so natural to both of them. Secrets had been shared, tears had been shed and she felt closer to Heather than she had done to anyone else ever. 'Nay, do you want any more wine?' She had already had plenty, but what was the harm in a little more? As Heather bent over to pour, Naya caught herself staring at the hem of her skirt. 'Thank you' she managed to croak out, averting her eyes before the girl turned back around and caught her looking. 'Pleasure' she said with a wink. She knew it shouldn't have had that effect, but Naya felt body temperature instantly raise and a shiver rush down her spine.
When Heather moved to sit back down next to her, she had a glint of something in her eye.
'What are you thinking?' Naya said, recognising that that particular look usually meant trouble.
'I was thinking….' Heather reached out to place a hand on Naya's thigh, 'that we' she motioned to herself and then to Naya, pointed finger inches away from her chest, 'should play a game.'
Naya raised an eyebrow; 'what sort of game, Miss Morris.'
'Truth. Like Truth or Dare, but without the dares.'
Naya nodded, feeling the wine taking over. 'Sure'.
'Okay… first question… you go!'
'Right… Okay… who did you lose your virginity to and were did it happen?'
Heather smiled, clearly thinking back. 'My high school boyfriend, Jason, in junior year so I was sixteen… It happened after junior prom in his bed. '
'How very American Sweetheart of you' Naya said with a cheeky smile. Heather motioned her hand towards her. 'You want to know mine?' Heather nodded.
'Okay… It might surprise you to know that I was eighteen. It was actually the summer after high school finished. It was with a guy called Rick and it was on his couch.' Naya could feel herself blushing already, although she was blaming the wine.
'On his couch?' Heather laughed. Naya just nodded before motioning for her to ask the next question.
'Okay… My question is… have you ever kissed a girl?' Naya nodded. 'Hasn't everyone?' she said calmly. Heather nodded in agreement; 'probably. Okay, tell me about it.' Naya laughed, 'isn't that two questions?' Heather simply shrugged. 'Tell me anyway. '
'So… Let me think back… The first girl I kissed was my best friend Lucy when we were thirteen. Neither of us had kissed a boy yet and we were scared, so we decided to kiss each other. Then there was the usual making out with friends when we were drunk or playing spin the bottle...' Heather nodded in understanding. 'Mine was with my friend Jen during spin the bottle when we were sixteen. I don't think I've kissed any other girls.'
'Did you think it was different to kissing guys?' Naya asked with a noticeable tone of intrigue. Heather nodded, 'mhmm… softer, more gentle.' Naya smiled. 'Heather, would it bother you if I thought I was bisexual?'
Heather looked up and straight into her eyes. 'No, of course it wouldn't Nay.' Naya nodded and smiled, moving in for a hug.
'Mom, I think I like her. As more than a friend'. Yolanda's eyes softened as she pulled her daughter in for a sort of half-hug. 'I thought there might have been something there. How long has this been going on?' Naya shrugged; 'I don't know really. I mean, I can't pinpoint the time when I started liking her. I just know that I do.'
'Does she know how you feel?'
'That's a hard one. I mean, I think she must do.'
'What does that mean?' her mother asked, raising an eyebrow. Naya sighed.
'Well, when I said I was getting upset about people asking if I was pregnant… it's not just because I'm not sure whether I'm bisexual or whatever but it's also because I haven't slept with anyone since… since…'
Yolanda could sense the hurt in her daughter's wobbling voice; 'since you slept with Heather?' It seemed the most obvious answer. Naya nodded, tears making their way down her still pale cheeks. 'Were you drunk?' Naya nodded once more. 'She was more drunk than me. It started with her crying over her boyfriend and I think she just wanted someone, you know? I just kind of let it happen. It wasn't awkward or anything after; we just seemed to kind of laugh it off. She… she made out like it was just another drunken mistake and we'd both get over it and move on but the truth is I never have.' Her mother nodded. 'You should tell her how you feel.'
Doctor Ross took his glasses off and placed them on his desk. 'So, Miss Rivera. Your tests haven't shown up anything conclusive and your pregnancy test was negative. The only thing I can really suggest is that the cause of your problems is stress. Your job, your high profile, home issues; it could be any of those contributing factors but your body is being placed under intense pressure. The main point I'm going to make is that you need to slow down. Don't take on extra hours, let your boss know if you need a moment or two to gather your thoughts throughout the day and take care of yourself with a healthy diet and exercise regime. I would say you should be safe to return to work Monday provided you feel well enough to do so.'
Naya nodded and smiled at the man sat in front of her. 'I'm actually feeling much better, so I think I'll do just that. Thank you for all your help.'
When Monday came around, Naya felt well enough to manage a full plate of toast before heading out to her car and driving to work. 'Hi, Naya!' Lea greeted her in the parking lot. 'You are looking so much better; how are you?' Naya smiled as the smaller girl pulled her into a hug. 'I'm feeling fine, thanks Le. Mom came down and took care of me and I've had the all clear from the doctor. I just have to make sure I take it easy for a while.' Lea smiled sympathetically, squeezing her hand before they parted ways and headed into their trailers.
'Naya? You in there?' Naya opened the door to reveal Ryan Murphy stood on the step. 'Just wanted a quick chat before we start shooting.' Naya simply opened the door wider and motioned for him to come in. 'How are you feeling Naya?' he said before he had even had a chance to sit down. 'Fine, thanks.' She could see the doubt on his face. 'Well, better anyway. The doctor has advised me to take it easy and to make sure I'm taking good care of myself.' Ryan nodded before sitting up and taking off his hat. 'Have you had a chance to look over the scripts for the rest of the week?' Naya shook her head. 'Not yet; I'm really sorry. I promise I'll catch up today.' Ryan smiled somewhat sympathetically. 'That's not really what I was getting at, but thanks for that. I was actually wanting to speak to you about the next Troubletones performance. How would you feel about dancing a tango with Heather?' Naya nodded, 'sounds good to me. Why do you ask?'
'Just because I don't want you worrying about anything. If it's too much, we can alter the choreography so that you and Amber aren't dancing. I just need to know so that we can work it out.'
'It's fine. I'm happy to do it. I should be fine; the stress is under control I promise.' Naya closed her eyes, ignoring the wave of nausea washing over her.
Filming was worse than she could have imagined. After her talk with her mother, everything surrounding Heather seemed so much more somehow. Every touch was electrifying; every smile sent a shiver down her spine. They had been shooting a choir room scene for around half an hour when she made her way to the camera and asked Brad for a few moments to have a drink and rest. Although she still wasn't feeling completely back to normal, she just needed a bit of a break from Heather's constant touching and what it was doing to her.
'Hey Nay. They stopped filming whilst you have a break. Everything okay?' Naya sighed. No such luck. 'I'm fine, Heather. I just needed to sit down and gather myself before I do anything more. It's all still a bit overwhelming even though I feel better. I just don't want to overdo it; I honestly thought I was going to die before and I never want to feel like that again.' Heather smiled sympathetically and placed a friendly hand on her knee. Naya couldn't help but shiver at her touch. 'Nay?' It was impossible not to hear the concern in her voice. 'I'm fine' she said, pulling herself up to sit straight against the wall. 'Sure?'
Naya nodded before taking a lung full of air. 'Heather, would you mind coming over tonight? It's not that I want the company exactly…. I wanted to talk to you about something. I don't want to do it here, really.' Heather, despite her confusion at what it could be, agreed. 'I'll be there at seven.'
The evening rolled around quicker than she really wanted it to. Nerves had got the better of her before the doorbell rang; she had butterflies, she was clammy and she couldn't keep her mind on anything for very long. By the time she opened the door to Heather, she was feeling just as nauseous as she had done in the previous weeks.
'Hey, Heath! Come on in!' She tried to muster up as much bravado as possible to hide her nerves.
'Hi there, pumpkin' the blonde greeted her as she pulled her best friend in for a hug, 'how are you feeling?' Naya nodded and smiled. 'Fine, good… I'm fine.'
Once they were sat on the sofa, Heather could sense there was something not quite right. Naya was shuffling uncomfortably on the sofa, playing with her hands as if her life depended on it. 'Nay'. Nothing. The brunette had her eyes down, paying incredibly close attention to her thumbs. 'Naya Marie.' The girl looked up. 'Don't full-name me, Morris' was the first thing she said. Heather couldn't help but smile. 'Something's wrong. You invited me here to talk, so what was it you wanted to say to me?' The tone in her voice was somewhere between concerned and agitated.
Naya took a deep breath, she could feel herself growing more and more nauseous by the second. 'You want some wine first?' Heather nodded, 'please.' Naya took her time opening the bottle and pouring some of it into Heather's glass. The second glass was waiting, but her mind told her to stop. Instead, she placed it under the tap and filled it with water. 'Water? Nay, is everything alright?' Naya simply smiled. 'Everything's fine, I just don't feel like drinking.' Despite the doubts running through her mind, Heather decided against saying anything more. 'Okay, you wanted to talk to me so talk' she said instead.
'Heather, I... I don't really know where to begin.' She could feel her chest tighten with nerves. 'Heather, I…' she could feel her breaths getting weaker, her mind going blank. 'I think I…' Her eyes rolled back and she fell to the floor, hitting her head on the coffee table on the way down. Blood beginning to pour from her nose, she began to shake violently on the carpet. 'NAYA!' The sound of Heather's scream filled the apartment. Reaching for the coffee table, she grabbed Naya's phone and dialled 911.
'I need an ambulance…'