Monday, January 2, 2012

Chapter 2.7: Vulnerable

After spending the entire morning chasing an energetic toddler around the neighborhood playground, Faye feels tired and cranky and ready to go home. She gathers up Audrey, finds her keys, and turns to leave, when all of a sudden she hears a familiar voice call her name. Glancing over her shoulder, Faye groans. Heath greets her with an amicable smile, but beneath his friendly fa├žade she can sense frustration.

Faye takes a deep breath, bracing herself for a fight. "If you're coming over here to lecture me," she says, putting her hand on her hip, "don't bother. I already feel bad enough, Heath, without hearing your two cents."

"Moi?" he asks, stopping short. He smiles at her endearingly and steps closer. "I take offense to that accusation, mademoiselle." 

Faye laughs. She hasn't seen her good friend since before she started showing, and in all honesty she's missed him dearly. "You've always been too opinionated for your own good," she retorts with a grin.

Heath chuckles, but his eyes are serious. "Faye, I know you've been avoiding me," he begins. "And I know that it has to do with your pregnancy. I just... I don't understand why."

Faye fidgets uncomfortably. "I don't know what to say. I guess I just thought you'd be mad."

"Bullshit," Heath replies. "That's bullshit, and you know it. I don't give a crap that you're pregnant, Faye. I just wish you'd be honest with me."

She frowns. "Heath, please. I-"

"It has to do with your baby daddy, doesn't it?" he interrupts, narrowing his eyes suspiciously. "You slept with Ryan, didn't you?"

"No!" Faye snaps. "No, Heath. It's not Ryan. It's- It's Wesley," she says at last.

Heath looks taken aback. "Wesley?" he asks. "Who is Wesley?"

Faye sighs. "Wesley Mason."

"Wait a second. Do you mean the Wesley Mason?!" 

She nods.

"But... He's married!"

Faye rolls her eyes. "Yes, I've become aware."

"Does he know about the baby?"

"No, and I'd like to keep it that way! Heath, you know the tabloids would go crazy if they realized Wesley was having a child out of wedlock, and I... I don't want to do that to him or his family. Please. Please. You mustn't say anything to anybody about this. Okay?"

Heath pouts. "Fine, but on one condition."

Faye glares at him. "What?" she asks.

"I want to touch it."

"Touch what?" Faye glances up uncertainly.

"Eww!" Heath squeals. "It MOVED!"

Faye giggles. "It does that a lot now."

"So when are you going to move out?" he asks casually.


"Move out," he repeats. "I mean, now that you're having a baby, I just assumed you'd move out. You can't stay a nanny forever, can you?"

Faye quickly says goodbye to Heath and excuses herself. She walks briskly to the car, his words still ringing in her mind. I can too stay a nanny forever, she thinks defiantly. What the hell does he know, anyway?! 

However, try as she might, Faye can't shake the feeling that Heath might actually have a point.

She gets so lost in her own thoughts that she almost runs over her brother Nathaniel.

"Hey Faye," he smiles at her.

"Nathan!" she laughs. "I didn't see you there! How are you? How is Beth?"

"I'm alright," he lies. "Beth broke up with me again. Right after Dad died."

Faye takes Audrey out of her stroller and gently sets her down in the grass. "Oh, Nathan. I'm so sorry. What a bitch! I can't believe she'd do that, and right after Dad's death..."

"Enough about me though," Nathan says, faking a smile. "I can't believe you're pregnant! Dad would have been so proud!"

"You think?" Faye sounds skeptical. "I mean-"

"Of course he would!" Nathan enthuses. "And with a doctor, too! He would be ecstatic."

Faye shoves him away. "Nathaniel! Ryan and I are not an item! How many times do I have to tell you guys that?!"

"Right, I just... assumed... since you two are living together..."

Faye glares at him. "Goodbye Nathaniel," she replies irritably as she grabs Audrey and walks away.

The following few weeks proceed fairly normally for Faye and Ryan. That is, until one afternoon a surprise visitor shows up at their door. 

With a frown, Ryan shakes Wesley's outstretched hand. "Hello, Wes. I didn't realize you were back in town."

"Yes, I came at once. I had to see for myself."

Ryan feigns ignorance. "See what?"

"Faye. Is she here?"

"Did she call you?" he demands.

Wesley looks exasperated. "No, but I wish she had. I heard about it through... a source. I need to see her. Is she home?"

"I will tell her you came by," Ryan replies. "But I cannot let you in. If she wants to speak with you, then that's her decision. Not mine."

"Come on now, Ryan," Wesley grins. "Let's be sensible about this. I want to see Faye, and I want to see her now. I came all the way across the country to talk to her, and I will not take 'no' for an answer." 

Ryan shakes his head. "I'm sorry, Wesley. If she wants to see you, she will give you a call."

Wesley smirks. "Friend. Buddy. Pal. We've known each other since, when? High school? I'm sure you remember how persistent I can be. Now let's cut the crap. Please go find Faye. Now."

Ryan feels his temper snap. "Wesley, I said NO!" he shouts angrily. "She doesn't want to see you, and frankly I don't blame her."

"What's the big deal?!" Wesley responds. "Why are you protecting her, Ryan?"

"Wesley, just f-" Ryan stops mid-sentence. Slowly ambling towards them, Faye's giant, bloated figure emerges over Wes' shoulder. Following his gaze, Wesley grins.

 Faye walks outside and quietly nods to Ryan. "Please?" she says. "I think Wesley and I need to talk. Alone."

"Are you sure?" Ryan asks. "I'm happy to stay. I can-"

"No," she interrupts. "No. I'll be fine. Thank you, Ryan." She smiles at him weakly, but her eyes are full of stubborn determination.

Once Ryan leaves, Wesley immediately digs into the heart of the matter. "Is it mine?" he asks.

"Yes," she replies without hesitation.

"Why didn't you tell me?"

Faye frowns. "Why are you here?" she retorts. "You didn't seem to care much about me before."

"Of course I cared about you. But this," he says motioning to her belly, "this changes things."

"How?" Faye demands. "Why can't you just pretend like you don't even know me? Like I don't even exist?"

He reaches for her hand, but she pulls away. "Because," he responds, his voice quavering. "Because I can't stop thinking about you. About us. I- I love you Faye."

She sighs. "You don't love me, Wesley. You barely know me."

"I want to be with you. I want to help you raise our baby, and I want to be part of his- or her- life."

Faye shakes her head. "Why do you even care? Go have a family with your wife or one of your numerous other girlfriends and leave me- leave us- alone."

Wesley's head drops. "I can't," he whispers. "I can't have any more children."

"What?" Faye looks confused.

"There was an accident, and the doctors... They couldn't save my- my-" 

While Faye and Wesley talk, Ryan tries to get some work done, but his attempts prove futile. He can see them through his office window. They've been talking for over an hour now, and he wonders what they could possibly be saying. 

Don't listen to him, Ryan thinks with sudden desperation. He knows very well that Wesley will do anything to get what he wants, and he worries that Faye will fall victim to one of his manipulations.

A few minutes later, Faye walks into Ryan's study.

"Wesley's gone," she announces.

"Did you talk about the baby?" Ryan wants to know.

"Yes," Faye smiles. "Wesley is moving to Appaloosa Plains. To be with the baby. And me," she adds after a second.

Ryan feels his stomach drop. "No! Faye, you don't know him like I do. He's married, and-"

"Getting a divorce," Faye finishes. "He's taking the role of fatherhood very seriously, Ryan. He says he's done sleeping around and he's ready to be a family now."

"But, Faye. I-"

Suddenly, Faye feels a sharp pain in her lower abdomen. "R-Ryan," she cuts him off. "I think it's time."

As a world famous doctor, Ryan has seen many women in labor, but he's never heard any scream as loud as Faye.
"Just. Stay. Calm," he instructs her patiently. "I will get the car."

"It's in the fucking shop!" Faye yells. "Remember?! GODDAMMIT I'M GOING TO DIE!"

So Ryan calls a taxi and calmly reassures her that she is, in fact, not going to die.

As they approach the hospital, Ryan continues to ease Faye's frazzled nerves.

"Ryan, I don't think I can do this," she babbles. "I'm scared. I don't want to. I-"

"You will be just fine," he soothes. "You are going to do great, Faye. I know you will."

She stops at the edge of the hospital door. "Ryan?" she whispers.

"Yes, Faye?" he asks softly.

Without a word, she slips her hand into his. "I'm ready now," she murmurs.