Check, please.

“I knew it was your month to pay the bills, so I made sure to use a lot of hot water.” I watched as he used the towel to dry between his legs and his torso, admiring his cleanly shaven male parts when the towel flicked up just high enough. “And your hair looks fine, Miss Over-Dramatic.” I bit my lip as I looked up and down at the bare and glistening body in front of me. “Been working out?”

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37. EPILOGUE version 2 ( Louis )

“So, I have some bad news…” the doctor said slowly. He was an old man, his skin sagging under his eyes, sagging on his cheeks, sagging on his neck… when he lifted his arms they sagged. His eyes were gray and lifeless, yet wide like he had seen a thousand deaths in his lifetime. Doctor Sunny was his name. How ironic.

I stood beside Harry as he sat on the patient table and held his hand. When the Doctor Sunny said “bad news,” Harry’s hand went limp, his shoulders dropped, and his forehead wrinkled up with disappointment.

“We did some tests and Harry is, unfortunately, infertile.” Doctor Sunny pushed his glasses up on the bridge of his saggy nose and scribbled down some notes in Harry’s patient folder. “I know you two want a child. I know you said you’ve been trying to have one for a while. Like we discussed before, we have a few options. One is adopt, two is you can use a sperm donor-“

I nodded and raised my hand up to Doctor Sunny. We knew our options. Doctor Sunny stood slowly and walked into his office, leaving Harry and I alone. Harry’s hair hung around his face like it was trying to hide him from me. I knew he felt responsible. I knew he was completely upset with himself.

“We’ve been trying for months to have a baby and I’ve been holding us back the whole time…” he said, pulling his hand away from me and tugging at the hair on the sides of his head.

“Aww come on, Haz. It’s not like I haven’t been enjoying all of the attempting…” I giggled and nudged him, but he didn’t respond. He wouldn’t look at me, but instead tried to cover his face with his hand. I took his hand and pulled him off of the table. “Come on, baby. Come on. Let’s get out of here.”

We drove back to the apartment in silence. I could have said something. I could have said anything to try and cheer him up. I knew after years and years of practice just what things to say that would usually bring a little grin to his face and a little sparkle to his eyes, but this was different.

When we got home, he walked straight back to our room (which used to be mine) and collapsed face-first on the bed. I climbed onto the bed beside him and stuck my hands up the back of his shirt, feeling his warm skin under my fingers. I massaged his lower back with my knuckles and scratched his skin gently as he breathed slowly in and out and in and out. At one point, his back was moving up and down so slowly that I thought he was about to stop breathing, but he turned his head and looked across the room, avoiding my gaze.

“I told you in my wedding vows that I would always give you what you wanted-”

“Harold-” I growled quietly, knowing exactly where he was going with this.

He ignored me and said it anyway. “And the one thing you really want, I can’t give you. I’m so sorry Scotlan.”

His body tightened beneath my hand as he turned his face and buried it back in the bed.

“Harry-“

“Scotlan, please just-“

“No, Harry. Listen to m-“

“Babe.” Harry sat up abruptly and cupped my face in his hands. His eyes were wet. My heart always twisted in my chest when I saw Harry crying. I wanted to say something but he obviously didn’t want me to talk. “Do you know how much I love you?” He asked. I nodded. He grinned, but his bottom eyelid was filling more and more each second with tears. “Good. I love you so much. But please… please… just let me think for a little bit, okay?”

I nodded again, Harry’s hands still holding my face. He pulled me to him and whispered one more “I love you” before kissing my lips and watching me climb off the bed. As I rounded the door to my room, I heard his body collapse on the bed again. I sighed and grabbed the keys to the Celica before slipping my shoes back on and walking out the door.

When I pulled up to Louis’ apartment, I saw Lillian’s car in the driveway. I was glad he finally found someone who could handle him. When we first met Lillian at the Office Depot shoot, she looked too…. well, innocent for Louis. According to Louis though, she was no where close to being an angel and that was good for him. She and I had become pretty good friends, but we weren’t yet as close as Anna and I had once been.

I knocked on the door before walking in.

“Guys? It’s me!” I called, dropping my purse on the floor.

Lillian greeted me from the kitchen. “Hey! How was the appointment?” She asked eagerly. Her blonde hair, which was usually pulled back into a tight pony-tail, was tussled and hung about her head messily. She was wearing a robe. I tried not to think about what kinds of things might have been going on between her and Louis before I arrived, especially when Louis came out of the bedroom in nothing but his boxers. I glanced over at the wall where… once upon a time… Louis threw me up against the wall and nipped at the skin on my neck before I nearly pierced his lip with my teeth. The hair on my arms rose.

“Where is Harry?” Louis asked, picking up one of the fresh pancakes that Lillian made for him and eating it with his hands. Lillian shot him a disapproving look.

I sighed. “He’s at home.”

Louis’ slowing chewed. “Well… I was going to ask how the appointment went but I think I already know the answer.”

I bit my lip and sat down on the couch in the living room. Lillian and Louis followed me. “He’s pretty upset, Lou.”

“I mean, I would be too.” He stared down at the coffee table before him and chewed on another bite of pancake as he tried to imagine what it felt like not being able to have kids. He shuddered. “God, is he okay?”

I shrugged. “He sent me away,” I laughed. “I was trying to console him and he asked me to leave so I did.”

Louis’ eyebrows furrowed but he nodded. “So what are you going to do?”

I chewed my lip and looked around the room. After a moment, I cleared my throat. “Lillian, can I talk to Louis alone for a minute?” I asked. Lillian cocked an eyebrow but stood up and walked to the back bedroom.

I swallowed. “Harry and I talked a few days ago about what we would do if this happened… He really wants kids, even if they’re not his… and to be honest I really want to have my own kid instead of adopting, you know?”

Louis sat back on the couch and nodded slowly. I could see him biting the inside of his lip.

“We will probably get a donor… you know like sperm donor…” I said slowly.

Louis’ facial expression didn’t change. He still chewed on the inside of his lip and nodded at me. I waited for a moment to see if he would catch on. When he didn’t, I said, “Louis, you know you’re our closest male friend.”

Finally, he sat forward and his eyes widened. “You want me to do it?” He whispered.

I raised my shoulders slowly. “I mean, that’s what we were thinking…” When I saw his eyes widening even more, I spoke again quickly. “We don’t want to pressure you or anything. Please don’t feel obligated. I don’t want it to be weird with Lillian or even just with you-“

Louis had begun to grin. “That would be so exciting…“ he breathed as he rubbed his hands over his face.

“Yeah?” I asked, unable to really read his emotions. I hoped he wasn’t joking with me. “We just didn’t want to get a stranger or anything… I would rather it be someone we know, you know?”

“I know, I know,” Louis said, uncovering his face. His face was red and his grin was spreading. “Yeah, don’t get a stranger. I’ll do it. I want to do it.”

He jumped across the coffee table and hugged me. I couldn’t help but laugh. Three and a half years ago, we were dreading having a child together and now it was the most exciting thing that could happen. “I always thought you and I would have gorgeous children,” he whispered into my ear before laughing loudly.

I giggled and shoved him away from me. “Think about that often, do you?”

He smiled and pulled me back into a tight hug. “Not anymore. I used to pray about it all the time. And – OH LOOK – my prayers are coming true!” I laughed and shoved Louis away from me again. I hated his sarcasm.

Lillian was a little awkward about the whole thing – I mean, who wouldn’t be? – but eventually said that it would be fun and she was okay with Louis being the donor. I knew her approval just made Louis even more excited about the whole thing. We waited a few days to tell Harry, knowing that he was still upset and felt guilty. I made sure to tell him every morning, every afternoon, and every night just how much I loved him for who he was and for all that he had ever given me. I had done that before all of this was happening, but I was sure to be much more sincere about it now. The last thing I wanted for Harry was him thinking that he failed me or anything like that. He had done so much for me before in my life and the last thing I wanted was for him to feel like he messed up, even if it was just once in our lives. He and I both knew that this wasn’t the most positive of situations, but it brought us closer than ever before.

We all decided to wait until I had the baby to know the gender. It made it more exciting that way. The delivery wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it might be simply because Harry and Louis had me laughing the whole time. Harry finally agreed to let Louis in the room but made him promise he wouldn’t look at my vagina because - “It’s mine,” Harry growled.

Whenever I would ask for something – ice to chew on or someone to help me shift in the bed, both boys would leap up, but nine times out of ten, Harry would slap Louis away.

“MY wife. MY WIFE,” He said, shoving Louis aside.

“MY baby mama. MY BABY MAMA.” Louis shot back at him.

When the baby actually started to come, Harry and Louis both stood by my head, holding my hands.

Harry kissed my forehead as I groaned in pain. “It’s okay, you can do this. I’ll be here for you the whole time.“

“Oh, I see a head-“ The doctor said. Both boys dropped my hands and ran to the foot of the bed.

“NO NOT YOU I SAID YOU CAN’T LOOK-“ Harry yelled, trying to shield Louis from seeing my lady parts. I laughed. I was actually laughing.

“Good!” The doctor told me. “Laugh more! It’s helping!”

“Harry we’re both gonna fuckin miss it if you keep being a-“

I yelped in pain. Harry and Louis both ran back up to my head and grabbed my hands. “You okay?” Louis asked.

“Of course she’s okay. You’re okay, right?” Harry asked. His hand was shaking just as much as mine. I couldn’t tell if it was from me squeezing the shit out of it or because he was nervous.

“Can you put like a cold cloth on my head or something?” I said through bursts of breath.

Louis leapt for a cloth and started to put it on my forehead, but Harry stole it from him and did it himself.

“Harry, I’m trying to help her, not kill her,” Louis said through his teeth.

Harry stared to fight back, but the doctor interrupted him.

“Okay, push again, Scotlan. One more and the baby will come out-“

Both Louis and Harry dropped my hand again and ran to the foot of the bed. I saw Harry give Louis a dirty look but he didn’t try and keep Louis away this time. Louis bent down and watched as I squeezed again. He gagged and rushed to the corner of the room with his eyes closed. “Disgusting…” I heard him mumble. “Holy shit, I’m scarred for life…”

Harry began to cackle as he watched Louis wriggle with disgust. “I can handle it because I’m A FUCKIN MAN!”

“HARRY-“ I growled, giving one more thorough push. The way that Harry’s face changed colors let me know that the baby was out. He looked like he was about to be sick but then his face turned red with excitement as he looked at the little naked boy in the doctor’s arms. The nurses and doctor all rushed around and checked on the baby, wiping him off and making sure he was breathing okay.

“It’s a little boy!” Harry said, rushing to my side and kissing me quickly before he ran back to the baby. I was too tired to say anything, so I just smiled.

Louis was dancing in the corner. “Thank God!” he yelled. “I wouldn’t have known what to do with a girl.”

We agreed with the name Harley. He just looked like a Harley. He was so handsome. I was excited for him and for his future with all of us. I loved to think about how I grew up without a family but Harley was growing up with a family and four other uncles. I could see him now, three years old, wearing little overalls and holding a camera half the size of his body or modeling with the boys. He would be perfect. I began to wake up more and more excited for life every morning with my perfect family.

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