Feisty Francesca

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#34 Hallmark movie moment brought to you by Fran

I hum I’m walking on sunshine while I walk through the hallways of the Nephrology unit, feeling like I’m floating even though I’m once again pulling a double shift, and not even in the ER. James and I went out to dinner last night, dressing up and really taking the time to talk and truly listen to each other, and it was amazing. He told me more about his siter Desi, and I talked about my father. I feel like I’m finally getting to experience what love should feel like.

We spent two hours making sweet love to each other when we came back home to his place, and the beast didn’t come out this time. It was all about connecting, looking into each other’s eyes and whispering sweet words to each other. I could tell he had to hold himself back to not fuck me hard and fast like’s been doing more and more often, and I appreciated the effort. The beast is nice and all, but I need love and affection more than I want passionate and out-of-control sex. Variety is everything, and last night was perfect. He’s perfect. We’re perfect.

Today, I am going to tell Annabel and Aston the results of the paternity test. They only just came in, and I haven’t had a chance to look at them yet, so I’m more than a little curious myself. Nurse Debby was originally supposed to be the one to give them the results, but I begged the doctor to let me be the one to do it. Not just because I’m curious, but mostly because Debby isn’t the right person to do this. She would make Annabel feel horrible, make snide remarks about how she used to sleep with Aston, that kind of stuff. That bitch shouldn’t be allowed to work with people.

“Hello, how are we today?” I say, stepping into Theodore’s room with a smile. My expression falters when I see Aston shaking out his hand, standing next to a small hole in the wall. Lesly is crying, Theodore was in the middle of yelling at his sons, and Jaxon looks like he’s ready to just crumble onto the floor. Brittany is sitting on the chair next to Theodore’s bed, looking like she wants to disappear. Poor girl. This is a lovely family, and Jaxon is a great guy for her, but the Johnsons come with a lot of drama.

It’s not a good day for the Johnsons, apparently.

“Hi Fran,” Lesly says through her tears. “Is everything okay?”

“I just wanted to take Theo’s vitals before taking Aston and Annabel to get the results of their blood test,” I say, moving over to his bed. “May I?”

“Yes,” he says in a disgruntled voice. “Maybe you can talk some sense into my boys. They keep insisting on getting one of their organs cut out of them without good reason.”

You’re the reason!” Aston shouts at his father, punching the wall again. “Why don’t you fucking get that? I don’t want you to die, you fucking asshole!”

“They want to do an organ exchange,” Lesly explains.

I nod, looking through Theo’s chart while the family keeps arguing, and I readjust the amount of pain medication he’s getting. I was there when the doctor told the family about the possibility or an organ exchange program, and I think it’s a great idea. Aston is a healthy guy. So is Jaxon. They’d be fine, and Theodore would live to meet his grandkid.

When I’ve checked everything, I rush out into the hallway, deciding to wait for Aston out there. I’m not keen on watching him punch the walls of my beloved hospital again nor seeing Lesly cry.

“Hey Francesca,” I hear behind me, and I recognize Annabel’s voice. She looks tired.

“They’re having a moment,” I warn her. “Lesly is crying, Aston just punched a wall and Jaxon seriously contemplated escaping through the window.”

Annabel sighs and leans against the wall. “I will wait here then.”

“I think that might be wise,” I agree. “I had to take his vitals, but I ran out of there to moment I was done with my job. I thought that Aston finding out Ace is his father and forgiving his parents for lying to him was going to be a good thing, but it seems to only bring more tension.”

Annabel just nods and closes her eyes for a moment.

“Are you nervous?” I ask, feeling the need to fill the silence with words, even though I’m sure she’d rather just wait for Aston in peace. “I thought you were sure that the baby is Aston’s?”

Shut up, Fran, I tell myself angrily. I tend to ramble and keep asking question when I’m nervous. And I am nervous. Volunteering for this seemed like a good idea, but it also means I might be the one to shatter Aston’s life. And Annabel’s. Fuck me.

“I am, definitely, but…” Annabel trails off and sigh. “Yeah, I’m nervous. I feel like this is going to give us anxiety no matter what.”

“Even if it’s his?” I ask, not sure what she’s talking about.

“I don’t want him to leave me if it’s Chris’ baby, but I also don’t want Aston to stay just because he knocked me up. I want him to stay with me because he loves me, no matter who knocked me up.”

Yeah, okay, I can see that.

“He seems to be getting used to the idea,” I tell her, squeezing her arm. “It’s sweet to see how careful he is with you, so protective. I think he will be an amazing father.”

“Oh yes,” she says with a fond smile. “Definitely.”

Of course Aston picks that moment to step out of Theodore’s room. He pulls his girlfriend close and presses a kiss on top of her head. I start walking with them right behind me as we walk into the nurse’s office. I sit down behind the desk and look up her files. I just pray that the baby is Aston’s. Although… that does mean Annabel will never get to know for sure if Aston would stick with her for her, and not just for his baby.

“Okay, there we go,” I say, moving my eyes over the screen to scan the results. 99.9998%. That baby in her belly is definitely Aston’s, no doubt about it.

“Give us to us straight,” Annabel orders in a tight voice. “Who’s the father: Aston or Christopher?”

I’m already opening my mouth to tell them the good news, but then an idea hits me. What if I pretend it’s Christopher’s kid? Just for a second. Everyone already knows that Aston is never going to walk away from the woman he loves, not even if she’s pregnant with another man’s baby, but Annabel needs to know that too. She deserves to feel wanted and loved, just like every woman does.

“The baby isn’t Aston’s,” I lie, trying to put on a poker face. “It’s Christopher’s.”

“Fuck!” Aston jump up so fast his chair almost falls over. “Okay. I’ll be right back.”

All color drains from Annabel’s face and we both call after him when he storms out the door. Oh no. No no no no no. I fucked up. Why did I just do that?

“Don’t worry,” Aston calls out, sounding he’s already halfway down the hallway. “I just need to get something real quick.”

Annabel is crying now, her hands on her stomach like she’s trying to comfort her little baby in there, trying to pull it together. I did this to her. Oh God, I should be fired for this. I actually could get fired over this, and rightfully so.

“Fuck, I’m sorry,” I tell Annabel, not sure how to tell her what I just did. “I thought that would go over differently. I didn’t expect him to leave.”

“It’s not your fault,” she says with a sigh. Little does she know that is it is. “He said he’s coming back. Let’s just wait for him.”

“It is my fault.” Fuck, now I’m on the verge of crying too. “I was just trying to help you. After what you said… I thought that Aston would want to stick around and that you would get to see that he’s with you because he loves you, regardless of whose baby you’re carrying.”

“What are you saying?” she asks, leaning forward to study my face.

I gesture to the screen and then grab it, using the flexible arm to turn it towards her so she can see for herself. I point at the percentage that indicates the probability of paternity.

“Wait, what?!” Annabel sounds like she wants to cry and cheer and slap me all at the same time. “So he is the father?!”

“Yes, he is,” I confirm. “I just thought that-”

“Fuck what you think!” Annabel stand up and looks down at me with hatred in her eyes. “You let him walk out of here thinking he’s not the father of his own child! What the fuck is wrong with you?”

“I was just trying to help you. I swear, I wanted to show you that he will commit to you no matter what before telling both of you the truth.” How could I get this so wrong? I really thought this would end up being one of those Hallmark movie moments, with Aston confessing his undying love for her, and both of them ending up grateful to me for allowing them to realize they’re meant for each other no matter what. “I didn’t mean to hurt you. Not at all.”

“I need to find him,” Annabel says, turning around to go after her man.

Before she can leave, Aston returns with a huge smile on his face. It’s not the expression of doom I was expecting on the face of a man who just found out his girlfriend is having another man’s baby.

“Aston-” Annabel starts, moving to grab his arm.

Aston interrupts her. “Not right now, let me go first.”

“But the baby-” she goes on.

He cuts her off again. “Please, Anna, give me one minute before you start this long-ass conversation with all the problems you came up with while you were overthinking these past weeks. One minute.”

“But Fran was-”

“One minute!” he shouts, that delirious smile still on his face. “Not even a minute, just a few seconds. I need to get this out.”

Why won’t he let her finish? I open my mouth to tell him what I did. “Aston, the baby is y-”

“Shut up, Fran,” he bites out, his eyes moving to mine for a second. “Fucking hell, give me a moment.” He takes a deep breath and drops to one knee, opening a small black box that he was hiding in his closed hand. “Marry me, Anna.”

Oh. My. God.

It seems like I was right. We’re getting the Hallmark movie moment after all.

“W-what?” Annabel stammers. “Aston, I thought you weren’t sure-”

“I am,” he cuts in. “I bought the ring last week, when I finally realized that no matter who the biological father is, I want to be the dad. A real one, a stepdad, I don’t care. I love you and I want to be with you for the rest of my life. Marry me, Anna.”

“Oh my God. Yes, of course.” She squeaks. “Yes!”

Aston smiles like the happiest man in the words and slips the ring onto her finger, kissing her hand and then getting up to hug her. They’re so lost in each other that they don’t even seem to realize I’m still here. This would be the perfect moment for Annabel to tell him that the baby is his, but she’s too stunned to speak.

“Erm, Annabel?” I say softly.

She pulls back and her eyes go wide. “Oh fuck!” She lets out a startled laugh. “Aston, the baby is yours.”

“What?” he asks, looking like he can’t believe his ears.

“The baby is definitely yours, Aston.” I point at the 99.9998% on the screen. “You’re the biological father.”

“What the fuck?” He walks over to press his face almost up against the screen. When he seems convinced that he’s not going insane, he turns back to Annabel. “It’s mine? I’m the father?”

“Yes.” She’s crying now, but this time they’re happy tears. “Just like I told you all along.”

“Oh wow.” Aston looks like he’s about to faint. He slumps down in his chair and runs his hands over his face. “Wow. Okay. I’m going to be a father?”

“Yes!” I assure him. “I’m sorry, I was just trying to show Anna that you would stay with her no matter what, and you did, so I guess it worked after all, but I know I shouldn’t have lied, and it was so stupid, and I get it if you hate me now, but I just-”

Aston isn’t even listening to my nervous rambling anymore. He looks at Annabel with so much love in his eyes that it hurts. “Anna, will you still marry me?”

“Do you still want to?” She sounds nervous. “I don’t want you to feel pressured.”

“I definitely still want to. More than anything.”

Annabel smiles, and she finally relaxes. “Then yes, I will marry you.”

“Yes!” Aston says, pulling her into his arms. “I’m engaged! I’m going to be a father!” He pauses and breathes a nervous laugh. “Oh my God, I’m going to be a father.”

“Congratulations,” I say, turning off the computer so I can leave the room and give them some privacy.

“Fran?” Aston says, causing me to look down at him. “That was a very dangerous game you just played,” he says darkly.

“I know,” I agree, my voice trembling. “And I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry. But…” I gesture at them. “It kind of worked out the way I hoped, so… I guess I’m sorry, but not all that much.”

He grins and winks at me. “I know what you mean. If Anna’s not panning on murdering you, I think I can forgive you too.”

“Murder her?” Anna repeats, looking down at the ring on her finger. “I think she should be my maid of honor or something!”

I laugh at that thought. I’m glad they’re not mad at me, but I don’t think I should be standing behind her when she marries Aston. That place should be for her best friend, whoever that is.

“How about if my band plays at your wedding instead?” I say, smiling at the prospect of telling Yord, Marcia and Joshua about me booking us our first gig.

“Deal,” Aston and Annabel agree at the same time. So cute. They’re so in synch.

“I’m going to go back to work,” I tell them, unable to stop smiling. Then I see the look in his eyes and the way she’s grabbing his shirt in her hands. Oh shit. I know that look. The moment I leave this room, he’s bending her over my desk. Ew. “Please don’t have sex in this office,” I plead. “This is where I do my paperwork and blood tests and shit. Find an on-call room if you can’t help yourselves.”

Aston grins. “Thanks for the advice, Fran.”

Oh yeah, they’re definitely going to fuck. Great. Now I’ll have to end my shift by disinfecting this whole room. I’m definitely getting one of those decontamination suits for that daunting task.

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