A/N: Hey, guys! Welcome back! I've got quite a few ideas for where I want to go with this installment, but would still love to hear your input. I aim to please.
Let's get this disclaimer in right off the bat - this story is Part III of a trilogy. To some degree, they stand as mutually exclusive. But I heavily recommend you read SWY and SESOS first, as you may end up being hopelessly confused about a few things if you do not.
I'm planning on keeping the sexual content of this one down, due to recent decisions made by FFnet staff regarding the stringent requirements for an M-rated fan fiction. I've been hearing tell of several people losing their stories because their sexual content is more outlandish than what the ratings evidently allow. I had to take a look to refresh myself, and found that, indeed, ratings of 'M' only allow implicit sexual detail.
Now that I've been made fully aware, I will respect their rules. I want to be sure that I'm following the guidelines so that my story is not deleted from the site, and my account remains in good standing. I'm sure you understand! But please, again, follow me on Tumblr (bluerosemarcella *dot* tumblr *dot* com) and take down my email (makryka814 *at* gmail *dot* com). Send me a line with your contact info if you are interested in seeing more "detailed" writing from me, and I will be sure to share it with you that way (if/when the occasion arises) so that we are not breaking any rules.
Lastly, I hope you guys have checked out the 3 songs I've used as my titles. They are all fantastic and highly recommended. ESPECIALLY Side Effects of Sipping on Sunshine, one of my current favorite songs. Please let me know if you've decided to listen to them (they are all findable on YouTube), because I'm definitely curious at this point.
That was far more long-winded than I intended. Anywho, let's proceed!
Sound of Pulling Heaven Down
So rest assured I have the key to every opening,
To every wishing well that's deep enough to dream...
...Make love like time and space is ending,
While befriending fate's alluring way of putting us to shame.
I'm reaching farther than I ever have before,
Leaving all who broke your heart upon the shore.
I may be some sort of crazy,
We may be some sort of crazy,
But I swear on everything I have and more...
You make the sound of pulling heaven down...
- Blue October -
"Hanna…" Spencer began slowly. Dangerously. Hanna recognized that tone anywhere. It was the very same voice she would likely use with her children someday, when she was trying very hard not to explode into tiny little flakes of outrage, getting prepared to unleash a heartily reprimanding diatribe.
Hanna followed her gaze and felt her heart drop into the pit of her stomach. Though it only took seconds for her to comprehend and turn back to explain, Spencer had already disappeared out of the bathroom. She followed her in a panic, catching up quickly.
Spencer was stomping down the stairs, a very frantic Hanna at her heels. Hanna pulled on her arm desperately, attempting to placate her.
"Spencer! Please! You can't say anything!"
Spencer whipped around to face her as they paused on the landing, a wild expression in her eyes. "Hanna!" she declared brashly, "how could you let this happen?"
Tears clung to Hanna's eyelashes. She wasn't sure how Spencer would react, but she certainly didn't expect this. "I – I don't know! I didn't mean to – "
"Haven't you been taking your birth control?" Spencer hissed quietly.
Hanna faltered. "I…I forget sometimes…"
"Ugh!" Spencer growled, crossing her arms in frustration. "You forget?"
Hanna choked back a sob. "Spencer…I can't have you mad at me right now…I – I can't handle it…"
Spencer softened, but only slightly. "I'm not mad," she said, though her voice betrayed her words. "I'm in shock! This is how I react when I'm in shock!"
"Okay – okay!" Hanna agreed, grasping onto her arm. "Just calm down…okay?"
Spencer was massaging the bridge of her nose, deep in thought. "When was the last time you had a period?" she demanded.
Hanna looked harried, shaking her head. "I don't know! You know I haven't been regular ever since…you know…my problem…"
Her bulimia. She always had trouble saying it out loud. But recognition dawned on Spencer's face, alerting Hanna that she knew precisely what she was referring to.
"Please – don't go down there…"
Spencer shook her head apologetically. "This isn't something that can wait, Hanna. It's not right."
Hanna gulped, knowing deep down that Spencer had a point. She wasn't ready to face it, though. "I know…I just…"
Spencer was hurrying down the stairs once more. Hanna followed, unable to formulate a coherent argument as to why she should stop. She trailed her all the way into the den, where Toby and Holmes were laughingly cracking open a couple of beers. She braced herself for the impact.
"What the hell were you thinking?" Spencer cried as she burst into the room. Both Toby and Holmes turned to look at her, utterly perplexed.
"What's wrong?" Toby demanded. Holmes, however, was more focused on a tear-stained Hanna cowering behind her.
"Han? What's the matter?" he asked, standing to properly address her. Spencer was in his face in an instant, planting little punches on his chest with her tiny fists. He seemed more or less physically unfazed by this, a look of horror on his face as he tried to understand.
"How – could – you!" she hollered, only distantly aware that she was losing control of the situation. She was cognizant somewhere in her subconscious of the fact that she had no idea how to react, and her first instinct was to teach them both a very reality-inducing lesson. Perhaps it wasn't her place – but she was far from thinking straight.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" Toby called out, taking Spencer by the waist and hoisting her into the air. She flailed around in his arms.
"Tell him, Hanna! Tell him right now!" she commanded, struggling against Toby's hold. Hanna started crying all over again, unable to calm her racing thoughts enough to think of a proper way to explain the issue.
"Tell me what?" Holmes asked worriedly. The color had drained from his face almost entirely.
"I can't!" Hanna responded shakily.
"Yes, you can! You can, and you have to!" Spencer argued as Toby placed her back on her feet, still clutching her shoulders firmly to hold her in place. "He has a right to know!"
Hanna took a deep breath before exhaling slowly. "No," she said quietly, "I'm not sure it's him that I need to be having the talk with."
Spencer froze, a look of complete and utter disdain marring her features. "Hanna…" she began, sounding horrified.
Hanna, seemingly gathering the strength needed to complete her task, turned to face Holmes. A look of frightened determination was etched into her face as she steeled herself for the words that would next leave her mouth.
"I don't know if it's yours…or if it's Caleb's," she admitted quietly. She looked down at her feet to hide her shame.
Toby's grip on Spencer loosened as he put the pieces together himself. "Oh, my God," he muttered, staring, flabbergasted, at Hanna.
Holmes hadn't quite caught on. If he had, he was ignoring his instinct. "If what's mine?" he asked slowly.
Hanna took a deep breath, then let it out in a loud whoosh. "I'm pregnant."
At this, Holmes lost control of his legs, his knees giving out. Toby caught him in midair, trying to guide him back towards the couch. Holmes shook him off, however, recovering quickly. He was pushing gently past him to approach Hanna once more.
"Okay," he began carefully, evidently trying to ensure that his reaction was appropriate. "Okay. That's okay. We'll figure this out together…" He reached out to take her hand, brushing a wisp of wild hair out of her face.
Hanna looked towards the ceiling, a fresh batch of tears gathering at the base of her eyelids. "I love you…" she murmured. "That's why this is so hard…"
"What's hard? You can tell me anything, baby…"
She began sobbing outright at this outstanding display of unfailing support. He immediately pulled her to his chest, stroking her hair and whispering quietly to her to calm her down. Toby and Spencer stood stupidly on the sidelines, wishing silently that Holmes would understand the caveat of the entire situation.
"Derek…" she began quietly, "I was with Caleb hardly a month before you." She pulled back to assess his reaction, attempting to steady her breathing. "I…I can't be sure who the father is."
Realization hit Holmes like a barrage of bullets from a firing squad. He squared his jaw and slowly backed away from her, clearly turning over her words in his head. Toby had reached out to place a comforting hand on his shoulder, but stopped midway, as though unsure of himself. Holmes seemed to be searching for something profound to say, but was finding nothing appropriate.
"It's not your fault," he said at last, an ominously unnatural neutrality in his voice. It was as though time stood still, though it only took a moment for him to decide that he needed space. He slowly steered himself towards the door and out of the room. Toby looked apologetically at Spencer before turning to run after him.
Spencer surveyed her friend, who had collapsed into a hysterical heap against the wall. She looked so very small there, hugging her knees to her chest and crying with reckless abandon. She moved in quietly, squatting beside her to pull her in for a hug.
"I'm sorry I yelled," she said gently. "I just…don't know what to do…"
Hanna scoffed indignantly, wiping her nose on Spencer's blouse. For once, she didn't mind. "Yeah, well…that makes two of us."