A/N: I do not own Boy Meets World.
Warning: Reader discretion advised. This chapter may contain emotional triggers for some, if you would like to know before you read please scroll down to bottom, if not read as normal. Any questions/concerns please don't hesitate to PM me. Thank you.
Anxiety hit Cory the second he stepped into the elevator. As hurt as he was by Topanga hiding the internship with Brown Elliot he told her it was up to her to decide what to do. Being honest with himself, he knew he didn't mean it. Cory hated not having things under control but he figured if it worked with Yale it would work with Brown Elliot.
His hand shook as he knocked on the girls' apartment door. Cory and Topanga last spoke right before Christmas break, which was weeks ago. Topanga told him she needed some time to think and since then he hadn't so much as received a phone call from her, they didn't even spend Christmas together. Part of Cory was tired of fighting for their relationship. He knew Topanga loved him, but he was tired of her constantly running away. He knew he wasn't perfect but enough was enough in his mind. The thought of marrying someone who would constantly second guess their relationship wasn't something he wanted to do, especially not when he had his own reservations about walking down the aisle. Cory felt his stomach clench as he watched the door swing open.
"Hey Cory, what's up?" Rachel greeted him opening the door to allow him in.
"Uh, I just wanted to talk to Topanga. I uh…wanted to know what classes she was planning on taking this spring."
"Well, I'm sure you can ask her when she gets back from New York."
Rachel's smile quickly faded, "I, uh, I thought you knew," she stammered, "she went to the final round of interviews in New York."
Shock took over and Cory couldn't decide if he was more angry or hurt, "I'll see you later, Rach," in a haze, Cory backed up and left the apartment.
Eric was clocking out for lunch when he spotted his brother. It was a busy day in the student union but Cory seemed to be in his own world. Concerned, Eric handed him the hot chocolate he poured for himself.
"Hey little brother what's wrong, something got you terribly, terribly sad?" Eric teased, attempting to break the ice.
"Do you think I hold Topanga back?" Cory asked, breaking out of his fog.
Eric just stared at Cory slack-jawed. He wasn't sure how to respond, how serious Cory's question was or how honest he should be.
"Hey guys!" Shawn called out as he and Angela walked up interrupting Cory and Eric's conversation.
"Hey Shawn and Angela" Eric said dismissively, concentrating on Angela's stomach "Hi there litto bebe, this is your uncle Eric, how are youuu, how aaaare youuuu" Eric cooed rubbing Angela's baby bump. Instead of being angry all Angela could do was giggle at him and his silly behavior.
"Eric, get your hands off my fiancé," Shawn shook his head.
"Fiancé?" Cory raised his eyebrow and took a sip of his cocoa, assuming he misheard Shawn's words.
Angela beamed and waved a small and simple engagement ring at Cory and Eric.
Cory smiled but his reaction was subdued, "congratulations…"
"Thanks, we gave it some time and thought and figured with the baby coming, what were we waiting for?"
"Do I smell a double wedding?" Eric joked.
"Oh no, I am not waddling down the aisle 9 months pregnant."
"Why not, that's how all the Hunter women got married."
Angela shot him a feigned grumpy stare, "What do you want, babe?"
Shawn sat down next to Cory. "Coffee, dear."
"With the way things are going right now I don't even know if there will be a wedding."
Shawn took a deep breath, preparing himself, "oh no, what now?"
"Ask her, she's the one in New York."
"What is she doing in New York?"
"She's in New York for an interview. She applied for an internship with one of the most prestigious law firms in the country," Angela interjected, handing Shawn a coffee and taking a seat next to them.
"An interview that she lied to me about Angela, an interview you knew about but didn't tell me."
"Wait, she didn't tell you?" Angela didn't realize, nor understand why Topanga would keep it a secret, "Cory, I'm sorry, I assumed you knew."
"No, I'm sorry, it's not your fault. This is just another thing that makes me think we aren't ready. I mean, I'm always the one fighting for this relationship while she always seems to be looking for a way out."
"Come on Cor, don't overreact. I'm sure there's a reason," Shawn pleaded.
"Yeah, Cory she gave up Yale for you and remember the amazingly perfect artist I still occasionally daydream about?"
"Yeah, maybe she finally got sick of me holding her back." Despondent, Cory walked out, ignoring his friend's pleas for him to come back.
"Well, I'm all done here, I guess I'll head out" Eric said as he stacked the last cup. It was after closing and like most nights he and Bridget stayed behind, him straightening up, her studying. Like usual she didn't respond to him, she just kept her eyes on her book on child development. Eric stopped momentarily considering his next move.
"Hey!" Eric said in a raised voice, sitting next to her.
"Oh, I'm sorry, what did you say?" Bridget inquired looking up from her book.
"I said I was done and leaving, I was saying goodbye. I say goodbye every night and you never respond," Eric pointed out. He liked her and wanted to get to know her but she was making it impossible.
"Sorry about that…" Bridget waved flippantly, "goodnight."
Frustrated, Eric grabbed her book, knowing that would catch her attention. "Why do you act like this?"
"What do you mean?"
"Like this, cold and uncaring."
"You know, Jack told me I should stay away from you. He said you were a bad person and for the most part your actions have proven him right," Eric stated as politely as he could.
Bridget rolled her eyes at him and got up to leave. She could easily buy another book or simply fire him.
"But, I think there's more to you…"
His statement caught her completely by surprise, enough so that she sat back down, "Why would you say that?"
"Because... selfish uncaring people don't go to college to become teachers."
"Not all teachers are good peo-"
"They do it because they care," Eric interrupted, "and the good ones want to make a difference and they usually do. I know people Bridget, it's like a 5th sense of mine"
"Uh, you mean 6th sense?" Bridget laughed.
"See!" Eric exclaimed with a giggle, pointing out her teaching moment, "you strike me as someone who would be a pretty good teacher."
She blushed at his kind words, "thank you."
"Well, I guess I'd better go, it was nice talking to you," Eric said, deciding it was time to leave.
"Eric, wait," Bridget called out, her demeanor entirely different from moments ago, "you're right, I'm not a mean person."
"What do you mean?" He asked taking his seat.
"It's all an act I put on to protect myself."
"Why would you do that? You're young, gorgeous, rich-"
"That…That's why you never say goodnight? You couldn't hear me?" A lot of her actions suddenly became clear to Eric, he wasn't fazed by her confession rather he was relieved she wasn't just blowing him off.
"And that must be why you don't like me talking to you with my mouth full!"
"Well, that and its gross!" She giggled before confessing, "guys like you and Jack flock around me but the second you find out I have a handicap you either run for the hills or act like I have a third eye. I'd much rather people think I was a shrew than feel sorry for me."
Eric decided it was safe to hand her back her book. "Believe it or not, I understand. You see, I'm a bit of an eccentric."
"Yeah, I uh, I noticed."
"Well, people label me a complete idiot because of it. They see me as a one dimensional character and sometimes it hurts," Eric kept eye contact with Bridgett even though he didn't feel completely comfortable spilling his true feelings, "you know I did some traveling over the summer, my life was a mess. I lost a child I loved like my own and my two best friends got together leaving me homeless. It was a hard time."
"I considered shutting down, you know, put walls up, but I realized I could never be happy not being myself."
"Ah, the future teacher becomes the student," she smirked, reflecting on his words.
"Well like I said I've dabbled in teaching myself."
"Well, I've tried being me and trust me, it's not fun being pitied," Bridget shrugged, "maybe I'm jaded. I guess I've convinced myself no one would ever accept me for the real me."
"You'd be surprised…"
"Ugh, I feel like a stuck pig" Angela walked into the room wearing a hospital gown.
"Where's the nurse?"
"Oh she told me to wait here for her."
"Wow, this place feels completely different," said Shawn tossing the detailed women's abdomen model.
Angela snatched the model from him, "Why do you say that?"
"Because last time I felt like a dead man walking."
"Shawn!" Angela playfully kicked him as she jumped up onto the examination table.
"So, what do you think about what happened with Cory yesterday? I just cant believe she would keep that from him."
"Topanga had to have a reason to keep it from him. She would never purposely hurt Cory."
"Either way, I hope she gets it. She deserves it and I really hope Cory comes to his senses."
"I'm sure he will, you know Cory."
Angela nodded in agreement.
Shawn rubbed Angela's stomach. "Do you think we'll find out if the baby's a girl or a boy?"
"Nah, 17 weeks is still a little early. Honestly, I think they'll just check the heartbeat like they did at our 14 week appointment…unless something's wrong."
"Yeah, you're probably right" Shawn leaned back on the stool trying to get comfortable. "What do you want the baby to be, a boy or a girl?"
"Oh, I don't know, I figure either sex will be a handful since it will be your child," Angela teased, "what about you?"
"Healthy and happy is what I want," Shawn paused momentarily staring at nothing, contemplating the question, "you know, I do remember reading a quote years ago from Joseph Addison. 'Certain is it that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter. In love to our wives there is desire; to our sons, ambition; but to our daughters there is something which there are no words to express.' "
"You're such a sap," Angela muttered, misty eyed. She playfully pushed him in the shoulder before she wiped a tear away.
"Angela, you're giving me what I've wanted all my life, a family. I can't wait for you to be my wife."
She pulled him towards her until their lips met. Lately, there was something different about the way Angela's touch felt and Shawn wasn't sure if the feeling was real or imagined. These new kisses made the world around him seem to stop and often left Shawn forgetting his own name. He realized more and more how much he actually loved her and for the first time ever, it didn't scare him. He finally trusted someone with his heart. Angela ran her hand across his cheek and Shawn could feel the cold of the engagement ring he painstakingly picked out soon after he found out about not having a mother. After that moment he decided to put all of his focus into fixing his life. He had a bad upbringing but he would be damned if that stopped him from getting his happily ever after.
"Hey there guys, you know that's what got you here in the first place," said the nurse, entering the room and greeting Shawn and Angela.
They pulled away from each other pretending not to know what the nurse was talking about.
"The Dr. Should be with you shortly, I'm just gonna check the baby's heart rate, okie dokey?" She waved the Doppler and instructed Angela to lift her gown.
"Yay!" Angela squealed, exposing her abdomen.
The nurse smiled at the happy couple. She placed the Doppler on Angela skin in search of the familiar sound. "hmmm" the nurse remarked, she felt around for a few seconds before adjusting Angela's stomach. She continued her search, occasionally sighing underneath her breath, her face became more serious as the seconds ticked by.
"So, it must never get old, huh? Hearing the sound of a baby's heartbeat?" Shawn asked in an attempt to break the uncomfortable silence.
"No, never…" the nurse responded without looking up as she continued to explore with the Doppler.
Shawn thought he sensed slight worry in her tone, "Uh, is everything ok?"
"Yeah, these little buggers can be hard to find sometimes, um, Angela, have you begun to feel any movement yet?"
"Not yet, I thought I did a few days ago but it was just gas," Angela joked.
Shawn laughed at Angela. He glanced at the nurse and noticed she only grinned slightly which was uncharacteristic for her. The few times they spoke to her she seemed to be a ball of joy and laughter, instead she was intently focused on finding the heartbeat, something he remembered took seconds their last checkup.
"Let me get the Dr., he's a lot better at using these darn things," the nurse laughed uncomfortably, she attempted to hide her concern as she exited the room but her body language worried the both of them.
"Shawn, you think something's wrong?"
"Nah, everything's fine, baby," Shawn said, squeezing her hand. Part of him sensed it wasn't but the last thing he wanted to do was alarm her.
"Hello," Dr. Rose stated. He entered the room and immediately walked to the ultrasound machine and turned it on.
"Hi," Shawn and Angela softly replied in unison. Angela looked over at Shawn with dread in her eyes, much like she had during their first Dr. appt. Angela was, for the most part, the strong independent type but Shawn knew she needed him at that moment for reassurance.
"Angela, you're measuring a little small for 17 and a half weeks." He said in a clinical tone placing gel on her abdomen. The Dr. didn't make eye contact with either of them, he simply stared at the screen, turning it slightly to himself as if he wanted to hide whatever he anticipated finding.
Even though he knew he shouldn't, Shawn tried to see what the Dr. was looking at. He was able to catch a glimpse of his baby, the last ultrasound they had the baby looked like a blob, now he saw the outline of an actual human being but it didn't look right, there was no movement and the beautiful flickering he so distinctly remembered wasn't there.
Dr. Rose turned to them and placed his hand on Angela's arm.
"I'm so sorry to say this…" He began.
Shawn heard Angela whisper, No and he instinctively held her.
"There's no heartbeat"
"No." Angela cried.
"I'm so sorry guys, we can schedule a D&C or-"
"Wh-what, whats a D&C?" Shawn interrupted, numb and in a daze.
"It's... surgically removing the fetus," the Dr. uncomfortably answered.
Although she remained quiet, Shawn could feel Angela begin to weep harder. She became heavy, as though she lost the ability to hold herself up. He clutched her tighter, unsure of what else to do.
"You can also be induced," the Dr. said sympathetically, "it's completely up to you but I would suggest induction, that way you can say goodbye, um, most people need that closure. I know this is hard, it never gets easier to break this kind of news. I'll give you a moment to make your decision." The Dr. mouthed I'm so sorry once more before walking out, softly closing the door behind him.
Unbearable grief washed over Shawn. He closed his eyes and began to pray, he pleaded with God to let him wake up.
Just please let this be a dream, don't let Angela have to endure this kind of pain. Don't let this be my reality, I lost a father and a mother, I can't lose a child, I couldn't handle it. Please, wake up…wake up…
But as hard as Shawn tried to wish it all away his thoughts were drowned out by Angela's sobbing and the warm feeling of her tears falling onto his shirt. He was afraid to open his eyes, he couldn't face his reality.