The Odds are in Our Favor
Author's Note: Hi everyone! This is my first Community fanfic…please be gentle! I love Jeff and Annie, so please read and REVIEW!
Summary: An unwanted visitor shakes Annie's confidence as a mother and wife, not even Jeff can help her out of this funk. Who can convince Annie otherwise?
It had been six weeks of sleepless nights and sleepless days, but Annie Winger knew that she had never been happier. She had the big house with the pool and the white picket fence, she was secured in her job at the hospital, her best friends from study group lived no more than ten minutes from her and she married Jeff Winger, the love of her life. And they had recently become parents to their six-week-old daughter, Sharon Winger.
With her best friends so close by, Annie had all the help that she needed. Britta and Shirley came to the house three times a week to help with the baby while Jeff worked. They fulfilled their duties as godmothers so that Annie could take a shower or a quick nap. Troy, Abed and Pierce came over twice a week to watch a movie with the baby, so they could 'be young again'.
When Jeff was home, he was immersed in doting over Annie and Sharon. Annie knew he worked fourteen hours now as a lawyer and she understood if he wanted to sleep, but Jeff refused. Jeff reasoned that he was apart from them for a large chunk of the day and he didn't want his two girls to forget how much he loved them. Annie would fall asleep to the sight of Jeff cradling Sharon in the rocking chair, declaring that she was the luckiest woman alive.
It was a Wednesday afternoon when Britta and Shirley would come and help with Sharon. One of the benefits of maternity leave was that Annie felt like she was bonding with Sharon. Annie was beginning to see that Sharon had her mother's eyes and her father's famous smile. Catching these little details made Annie's heart melt as she placed her tiring daughter into her playpen.
There was a knock at the door. Britta and Shirley weren't expected to come for two hours. Maybe they decided to come early; it was obvious that Britta and Shirley were smitten with the little baby. Annie ran to the door, expecting to see her two best friends.
But she didn't.
Instead, she saw Michelle Slater.
"Professor Slater – Michelle. What are you doing here? I haven't seen you since…"
"Since your husband and I broke up." Michelle scoffed as she pushed her way into the house. Annie shut the door and she followed after Michelle, who had her nose up in the air as she looked at the pictures of Jeff and Annie's idyllic wedding and special moments with Sharon on the wall.
"Why are you in my house?" Annie demanded, standing her ground and watched as Michelle roamed into the living room where Sharon slept in her playpen. Michelle hovered over the sleeping tot and chuckled darkly.
"So this is how you did it, huh? You tamed the playboy by trapping him with a pregnancy? How Kourtney Kardashian of you." Michelle remarked bitterly, turning to see the stunned expression on Annie's face.
"I did no such thing! Jeff and I were married for three years before we had Sharon, he married me because he loved me enough to settle down and grow up." Annie said in her husband's defense, knowing that Michelle was still hung up on Jeff.
"He's settling for you."
"Jeff Winger settled for you. He wanted me. He always wanted me, but then he didn't get me so he settled for you because you're inexperienced and wouldn't ask too many questions." Michelle sniped, her words cutting Annie to the core. But Annie wouldn't let it show.
"You're wrong. Jeff loves me for who I am, not because he was hung up on you."
"Sweetheart, I made my career studying statistics. And when I look at your marriage to Winger…I'd say that you have a 95% chance of getting a divorce. You'll see. Jeff never believed in marriage. He will go back to his original beliefs and you will be left in the dark." Michelle knew how to hurt and Annie was feeling the pain. Holding back tears, Annie bit her lip and shook her head defiantly.
"You're wrong. Jeff loves me, and he loves our baby." Annie wasn't certain of many things; but she's always certain of Jeff's love. Michelle scoffed and rolled her eyes. Everything about her was condescending.
"Right. That baby. And you think that baby won't be another screw-up as a result from bad parenting?" Michelle remarked, turning her back to Annie to go back to hovering over the baby. Annie felt like she had been punched.
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"Everyone and their monkey knows about Winger's daddy issues and it certainly didn't take long for news about your relationship with mommy to get around. Most kids with negative relationships with their parents carry that same relationship with their kids, 90% of the time. So I predict by the time this kid is thirteen…she'll be a self-destructive, pill-popping slut just like her mom." Michelle spat. Tears fell from Annie's eyes.
"Sharon and I will be nothing like me and my mom." Annie enforced, angry that her tears were made known. Michelle grinned and rolled her eyes.
"We'll see how well you do without having help from your little minions." Michelle said in reference to the study group.
Before Annie could retaliate, Michelle violently shook Sharon's playpen, thus waking her and going into a round of hysterics. Michelle grinned and walked away, passing a stunned Annie.
"Better luck next time, sweetheart." Michelle remarked coldly as she escorted herself out of the house.
When she heard the door slam, Annie ran to her wailing infant and took her into her arms and tried to soothe her, but it wasn't working. Sharon continued to sob, while her mother cried silently. Blinded by tears, Annie texted Britta and Shirley, cancelling their arrival citing feeling sick and wanting to be alone.
Once the text was sent, Annie sat on the couch, with Sharon wailing uncontrollably in her arms. And Annie continued to cry in silence, feeling like a failure as a wife and, more importantly, as a mother.
When Jeff Winger comes home from work, he notices three things. The first being that he worked late, as the grandfather clock on the wall said that it was nearing eleven. The second being that he was famished and was contemplating a sandwich. And the third thing was that he could hear Sharon's cries shaking the house.
Normally when he got home, Annie was just burping Sharon after feeding her, giving Jeff enough time to get Sharon ready for bed and then lull her to sleep in the rocking chair. Seldom did he ever come home to a listen of The Exorcist soundtrack. He followed to noise up to Sharon's nursery.
Jeff found himself staring at Annie trying to calm down their hysteric daughter, with her hair frazzled and, from the doorframe, Jeff could see that Annie was crying. She didn't notice her husband until she turned around, exposing her frustrated face.
"Jeff! When did you get home?" Annie asked, her voice exasperated and her eyes wild. Jeff raised his eyebrows as he walked into the nursery.
"Just now. Annie, do you need some help?" Jeff asked, extending out his arms to his daughter, but Annie swung away from him and continued to pace around the room.
"NO! I've got her! I can take care of her just fine!" Annie manically hollered, only upsetting Sharon more.
"I didn't say that you couldn't. Let me try to calm down Sharon." Jeff insisted, trying to take the baby. But Annie continued to shield Sharon.
"STOP IT! I am a good mom!" Annie yelled over the sounds of a baby's tears for love and comfort. Jeff shook his head and forcefully took Sharon.
"You're a great mom, but when you're anxious, Sharon gets anxious. Why don't you go rest in our room?" Jeff offered, soothingly bouncing Sharon in his arms. Her cries were beginning to die down, but Annie's frustrations escalated.
"You would like that, wouldn't you? Keeping Sharon from her psycho mother, is that the plan?!" Annie hollered, tears of frustration coating her face. Having heard enough, Jeff turned around and gave his wife a severe stare.
"Annie! That's enough! You're being ridiculous!" Jeff hollered, rocking Sharon in his arms.
Annie stood in shock, the tears rolling down her face. Did Jeff know that she would ruin their baby with her mommy issues? Was Michelle right? Was Annie going to lose Jeff? She couldn't bear the thought of becoming her mother.
Annie ran to their bedroom and she collapsed on the bed and she sobbed into the pillow, trying to unleash her doubts about wifehood and motherhood. But her doubts and questions only multiplied and she had no answers. All she had was a tear-soaked pillow.
Jeff sat on the bed and he began rubbing Annie's back. Her body coiled under his touch and Jeff sighed loudly enough for Annie to hear. Jeff knew that all mothers reach that breaking point in the postpartum period; it just couldn't turn into a permanent thing. He continued rubbing Annie's back.
"Annie…what's gotten into you?"
"Leave me alone!" Jeff sighed once more. He began running a hand through her matted hair.
"Annie…this passive aggressiveness was the first crack in my parents' marriage. I don't want that to be us. Annie, please talk to me." Jeff begged. Annie was the only person who saw that weakness in Jeff when he spoke of his family. Slowly lifting her head, she revealed her puffy red face. She sat up and rested her head on Jeff's shoulder.
"Michelle came to the house today."
"Michelle?" Annie looked at her husband in shock, despite her emotions.
"Slater!" Jeff closed his eyes and seethed through his teeth. How could he forget her? His first taste of heartbreak. But she brought him to the love of his life, so was she actually an angel in disguise?
"Oh right, Slater, yeah, I remember, she…wait, why was she at our house?" Jeff asked as the realization dawned on him. Annie wiped her tears away but it was no use; tears kept coming.
"She came to say that Sharon and I were going to be a repeat of me and my mother." Annie said in one breath, her voice suddenly breaking on her. This revelation stunned Jeff.
"She said what?"
"She barged into our house and started talking about how there are all these statistics that mothers who have a negative relationship with their mothers carry that on to their daughters and how Sharon will become a druggie and a slut and she'll…" Annie incessantly rambled through the tears before Jeff took hold of both her hands and he gave them a squeeze. His eyes were wide with shock, but full of empathy.
"Hey, why are you listening to Michelle Slater? Nothing she said is true, you are nothing like your mother and Sharon is going to be the mini version of you: ambitious, loyal and successful. Don't believe Slater, you're an incredible mother." Jeff told his crying wife, kissing her forehead in attempts to calm her.
"If I'm so incredible, why am I relying on our friends to help take care of her? Why am I making my husband, who works all day and night, look after our daughter so I can have a break after other people are caring for her? If I were incredible, I should be able to take care of her without any help!" Annie reasoned with tears still streaming down her face. Jeff ran a hand through her hair and looked just as hurt as she was.
"You're a first-time mom; I'm a first-time dad. We're going to need a little bit of help for a while, but we'll get in the swing of things. Asking for help doesn't mean that you're going to be like your mom." Jeff stroked Annie's back, knowing that this calmed her down. But there was a first for everything, unfortunately.
"It's not just my relationship with my mother that I'm worried about."
"What else are you worried about?" Jeff usually understood his wife. Was she becoming a mystery before his eyes?
"You didn't get along with your dad either, Jeff. We both came from broken homes. Now Sharon is destined to be screwed up because of us!" Annie cried as she stomped up from the bed and began pacing. She couldn't sit still anymore. Jeff didn't miss a beat; he stood before Annie and held onto her shoulders. His motive was firm, but his eyes were gentle and his love was pure.
"Annie, listen to me. Everyone has a choice. Your mother had a choice about her relationship with her mother and you wanted to have a relationship with her, but she cut you off. And I wish I had a relationship with my father, but I chose to live my life knowing that I wouldn't make those same mistakes with my kids."
"You can choose to not be like your mom, Annie. Or you can choose to sever any kind of relationship you could have with Sharon because of outdated numbers and irrelevant facts. I am choosing to not be like my father and I will love you and Sharon…are you willing to fight against the statistics?" Jeff asked, wiping Annie's tears away with the pads of his thumbs.
Annie might have answered Jeff or even said the response in her head, but she didn't hear her own answer. Sharon's whimpering interrupted Annie's thoughts through the baby monitor. Annie didn't miss a beat; she disentangled herself from Jeff's hold and ran to her daughter's nursery. Jeff followed close behind.
Annie looked at Sharon crying in her crib. Hushing her gently, Annie picked up Sharon and cradled her in her arms. At the recognition of her mother's voice and warmth, Sharon stopped crying and then curled into Annie's chest. Annie cooed at her baby and then kissed Sharon's downy forehead.
This was a life that she and Jeff created together. Sharon was an extension of herself and Jeff, a little part that couldn't be captured in a statistic made by some teacher from the past. This was Sharon Penelope Leigh Winger; and she was perfect. Annie kissed Sharon's forehead again before the little baby succumbed into slumber.
"Wonderful girl, just like her mother." Jeff murmured as he wrapped his strong arms around his wife and daughter, pressing a kiss on Annie's head. Annie couldn't help but smile.
"She's a good baby, isn't she?" Annie asked, looking up at her too-tall husband. Jeff smiled with paternal pride. Annie was the only one who knew that Jeff cried when Sharon was born. Jeff ran a hand over Sharon's head and kissed her brow.
"She's a Winger – she's bound to be exceptional. C'mon, let's try and get a few hours in before she's up again." Jeff suggested, taking Sharon from Annie and putting her back in her crib, where she soundly slept. Annie bent over and kissed Sharon's cheek before walking out, hand-in-hand with Jeff.
Jeff was intent on going to bed; by now, he knew Sharon would wake up in three hours. Annie abruptly stopped in front of their armoire. He turned to his wife, fearing that she was still upset about Michelle's outlandish remarks, but was contented to see that Annie had a ghostly smile on her face. She squeezed Jeff's hands.
"I just realized something, Jeff." Annie said, her ghostly smile taking over the tears. Jeff stroked Annie's knuckles with his thumbs and he shrugged his shoulders gently.
"Blow my mind, kid." Just because they were married, it didn't mean that Jeff couldn't poke fun at their slight age difference. With a blush, Annie closed whatever space was between them.
"We're not going to know the rules in how to raise Sharon. I'm not a professor who spent her life studying numbers or anything, but I'm sure that there are no statistics saying that every parent cannot make mistakes once and a while. That doesn't mean that we're going to fail completely." Annie said, her confidence returning in her perky voice. Jeff found himself chuckling.
"That's what I've been trying to tell you! What made you change your mind, if it wasn't my noteworthy lawyer skills?" Jeff asked in a joking, but still serious, tone. Annie released Jeff's hands from her clutch and wrapped both her arms around him. Jeff did the same.
"Sharon. I just looked into her eyes and…I just saw doors of endless possibilities. Her journey through life cannot be captured in a statistic. She'll stumble along the way and we'll have a few disagreements with her…but all we can do is love her through it. And love each other." Annie concluded, her smile widening.
All Jeff could do was stare and smile. He thought about his wife, nestled safely in his arms and his daughter sleeping soundly in the next room, and Jeff had his own realization. His father didn't know the true meaning of happiness. Jeff thought that he had to have money, cars and fancy suits to be happy, but the real riches came from knowing that Annie would always love him and Sharon would always be his daughter. Jeff wished that his father knew that. Jeff palmed Annie's cheek into his hand and he gently caressed her cheek.
"I love you so much, Annie." Jeff told her, his love for her making him feel on fire. Annie smiled as she moved into his soft touch.
"I love you too, Jeff." Annie whispered just before Jeff moved in and captured her lips with his own.
His lips brushed against hers in the same loving strokes that his thumb was doing against Annie's cheek. Annie's hands were clutching, pulling Jeff closer to her body as they stumbled to their bed. Jeff was on top of Annie, his mouth still on hers. When Annie slipped her tongue into Jeff's mouth, he moaned against her lips as their tongues battled. He pulled away slowly and regretfully.
"Annie, we said that we would wait two years before we had another kid." Jeff tried to joke, but he knew that they wanted more kids like Sharon. Plus, the bonus was the "trying" part of making babies. Annie grinned as she pressed his hips against hers.
"Doesn't practice make perfect?" Annie asked in her most seductive voice. Jeff grinned and he feverishly kissed Annie and began tugging at her clothes while she did the same to his.
"God, I love you." Jeff mumbled against her lips as they began practicing the creation of Sharon's future siblings.
There were no statistics in raising a child. But with the love and devotion that Jeff and Annie had for each other and Sharon, the odds were in their favor.
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