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The smell of disinfectant was overpowering.
Clare opened her eyes and winced at the bright blinding lights that filled her vision.
The lights bounced off the whitewashed walls, only to come back more radiant and overwhelming. As her eyes adjusted, she could make out the forms of medical equipment. She felt with both her handsaround until she grabbed what she could make out as bed bars which were placed on both sides of the bed she was placed on. White immaculate sheets bunched up around her keeping her in place. A gray finger tab was attached to her delicately pale left ring finger while a constant beeping accompanied the tab and sounded at her left.
Her vision was still adjusting, and her surroundings still came out as disoriented, but after a long, foggy moment, Clare recognized where she was.
"No, no no…" she said in a tired and strained voice.
The last place Clare wanted to be was a hospital, and yet here she was in the presence of the sterile, white, cold and desolate room. What the hell was she doing here? How did she get here? The last thing she remembered was arguing with Eli in the living room…and then…nothing.
She propped herself upright, and began to glance around frantically. She could hear a beeping increase as her heart began to pound faster.
"Hey, hey, it's ok, you're ok, just relax," said a voice accompanied by two hands that reached out and began to rub soothing circles on the back of her left hand.
Clare looked over to the person sitting next to her and was surprised to see her brother, a look of relief and worry spread across his face.
"Jake, what are you—why am I—what did—why am I here?" Her words were choppy and thrown out nervously, the monitor began to speed up in its beeps again; Jake's gaze went from the monitor and then back to Clare.
"Hey, I'm going to need you to calm down…I'll fill you in, but I need you to take a breath and take it easy." He said carefully.
He kept his eyes on Clare until she leaned back on her propped up pillow. Once a steady beep could be heard, Jake smiled and let out a small sigh.
"I'm glad you're awake sis. You had a lot of people scared." Jake said as he sat in his chair, watching his sister.
"Why am I here?" Clare asked again as calmly as she could.
Jake leaned back in the chair and let out a sigh, recalling the past events.
"God Clare, "He began as he rubbed the back of his head. "It was the scariest thing getting that call from Eli saying that you two were at the hospital, I've never heard him sound that frantic in my life. He kept going on how he called an ambulance because you collapsed, and how they just wheeled you off somewhere, I could hardly make it out. So Katie and I rushed here as soon as we could and Eli said you hadn't been feeling well, and exhaustion caught up with you. My dad and your mom are still out at the beach house, but I left a few messages on their voicemail, since they don't get reception out there. At least now I call again letting them know you're awake," He said as he recounted the last few events.
Clare closed her eyes and brought her hand to her head as she let Jake's words set in.
"I didn't know you weren't feeling well. You should have said something, you know? You work yourself too hard." Jake told her giving a half smile, conveying his care for his sister.
She wanted so badly to disregard Jake's comment, but it seemed to have been an ongoing theme for people to state that she should "talk" or "let them know" about how she was doing. It all slowly came back to her, the fight, the shaking, Eli…. she took a deep breathe in order to keep herself collected.
By the lack of details that Jake gave in regards to her condition, she deduced that Eli must have given a watered down version of why she was in the hospital to ease any worry on her family's part—exhaustion, dehydration, temperature maybe? They were all believable.
Oh God, Eli. Their last conversation had ended in a less than civil manner, the argument got the better of her and it landed her where she was now. She looked back up at Jake.
"Where is he?" she asked in a raspy voice.
Jake gestured to the other chair that was situated in the room that had Eli's coat hanging off the back of it, while his keys, wallet and cell phone were set on top of a small side table.
"He wouldn't leave your side. It took everything possible to get him to step out for a few minutes to get some food, coffee, or something. But he'll be back any minute," He said and watched as Clare said nothing but simply nodded in response.
Jake gave her another small half smile before standing up and reaching into his pocket.
"I'm going to step out for a bit, I promised Katie I would give her a call as soon as you were awake, she was freaking out like crazy, I had to do some major convincing to get her to go home and get some rest too. I'll be back in a few minutes…I'm glad you're awake Clare." Jake leaned down and gave his step sister a quick kiss on the top of her head and then walked out of her room.
Clare was left in the whitewashed room with nothing but the constant beeping of the machine keeping her company.
Clare wasn't sure what to do, or what to think. She looked down at her hands and began to twist and wring her fingers, a nervous habit that she was never able to break, it was always a dead giveaway to anyone who knew her, telling them that she was not feeling okay.
"Just breathe…"She mumbled quietly to herself.
What day was it? How long had she been here? Damn it, she should have asked Jake all this before he stepped out. She wanted nothing more than to pass this off as just a fluke from dehydration or sleep deprivation. When the hell could she leave? Did someone call in at work? Oh dear God, the presentation and the revisions. She pushed the thoughts of work aside before she let the stress get the better of her. She thought back to the tension that had grown between her and Eli and a knot began to form in her stomach when she thought of the unresolved baby discussion-
Clare's breath caught in her throat when the thought of a possible pregnancy passed her mind.
It was an overwhelming thought…taking care of another person, when she herself crashed, burned, and landed herself in a hospital bed. The thought of a pregnancy was a whole entire world of discussion and stress all in its own. She already felt like a failure, she did not want to fail at something as life changing as parenthood. And the fact that she couldn't bring herself to admit that to Eli was unbearable.
Clare was upset and suddenly felt trapped. She became panicked and quickly sat upright then tried to take out the IV attached to her hand and pull her finger out of the grey tab that was also connected to her. She could feel her body become tight with anxiety, the empty white room contributing to her current state of disorientation.
Her movements were a mess of fumbled actions, as she tried to extricate herself from a situation she was unable to face.
She could hear a voice but the world around her would not register, she continued to try and get herself out from underneath the covers, out of the bed, out of anything and everything she could not handle on her own anymore.
Eli watched as his wife was being held captive in a world of anxiety, washed up by some type of frustration or fear that he could not begin to understand. The look of sadness and defeat on her face made his heart knot up in an aching fit. He approached her carefully but grew worried when he realized she was fumbling around with the different wires, tearing them off of her.
"What the hell are you doing—stop that!" In one swift motion he was at her side, both his hands gripped her shoulders and she tried to twist and pull away.
In response to her protests, Eli's grip only tightened.
"Let me go!" She shouted, finally making eye contact with the one person she couldn't bear to see at the moment. It shouldn't be this way, she shouldn't have to feel so defeated and he shouldn't have to see her like this.
"Hey, hey, hey…shh, calm down, ok? Calm down. You're ok. You're okay. What's going on?"
"I can't calm down! I can't think straight, all I can think about is…I mean, I can't—Oh God," Clare said, her eyes watering. Her words were thrown together and half mumbled.
Eli stared at Clare, his eyes probing hers as he waited for her to keep talking to him. When he saw those tears forming his brows furrowed together in concern and he pulled himself onto the bed with her, even as she continued to try and distance herself from him and his firm grasp.
Eli was about to ask her why she was so upset, but Clare did not give Eli a chance to process what she was going to ask him next.
"Am I pregnant?" She asked bluntly in a harsh voice. He eyes still were watered over, but she refused to let any tears fall.
Eli was taken aback by the forwardness of her question. He slowly released his grip. He kept his eyes locked in on Clare. His hesitation only fueled her frustration.
"What are you talking abou-" he began but was cut off by an emotional Clare.
"God, I'm not an idiot Eli," She began, her voice rising "I know you, and I know that if you called an ambulance then you would have told the doctors in a heartbeat that there was a possibility of me being pregnant for medical reasons! And I just can't sit here feeling stuck and not having any idea what's going on with my own body, especially when there are others around me that know more about my physical state than I do, and have been discussing it while I just sit here unaware of it all!"
She was expecting him to immediately retaliate, to argue with her or tell her to calm down but instead Eli looked down and took a breath, and then placed his hands on her own.
"I know this isn't exactly ideal, and that these past 24 hours have been a blur for you…usually it's the girl who does this," Eli squeezed Clare's hands and kept his focus on her, carefully preparing how he would deliver his next line.
"Clare…we're going to have a baby."
Ahhhh, don't hate me for leaving it there. Sorry I made it a short chapter, I know you guys have been waiting so I at least wanted to get this part out to you guys.
So much happening. Looks like Clare is having trouble with getting a handle on her changing life, and the last thing in the world that she wants is to lose her composure, if only she would open up to Eli, and he's got his own set of worries laying heavily on him. I hope you're still hooked, any theories on where these two go from here? Guess you'll just have to wait for the next update :)
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Til' next time