What Doesn't Kill You

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Chapter 28

Last night had been surreal. Scout thought maybe it would become an argument but instead, they went through the night in awkward silence with neither of them mentioning it. She felt like she was wading through water for the evening and today had been no better.

Scout worked a shift at the shop but she couldn’t tell you who came in or what she sold. She’d come home and the silence continued on. Maybe an early night was what she needed and then she could pluck up the courage to talk to Lucky properly. She could hear him pottering around in the living room. She swerved it and went straight to the bedroom.

Changing into pyjamas, Scout avoided looking at her body in the mirror. She hadn’t felt this lost since she’d stepped back into Swansea.

Kneeling down by the bed, she clasped her hands together and closed her eyes. Scout had no idea what she was doing.

“What are you doing?”

Her eyes flew open and Lucky was standing in the doorway of the bedroom, looking highly amused and Scout sat back on her heels. She unclasped her hands and put them behind her back. “Nothing.”

“Didn’t look like nothing. Looked like you were about to talk to someone.”

“And what if I were?”

“You don’t even believe in God.” Lucky walked into the room and Scout pushed herself off the floor so she was standing.

“So?” she asked. “If He does exist He should be listening…” That was her logic for it, anyway. Lucky laughed and Scout folded her arms across her front.

“Why don’t you try talking to me instead?” Lucky suggested. Scout let out a shaky sigh and Lucky sat on the end of the bed. She moved to join him, their knees knocking together. “What were you going to ask Him?” Lucky’s eyes moved towards the ceiling.

Scout shook her head. “I don’t even know. What to do, I guess.”

“I think only you know the answer to that question, Scout.”

They sat in silence for a little while, knees knocking against each other gently and staring straight ahead. The tension seemed to ease between them.

“You really want this babe?” Scout couldn’t bring herself to look at him. It was easier to have this conversation if she focused on the wall in front of her.

“It’s not what we expected or planned but yes, I want our baby.” Their babe. It made it feel a little more real when Lucky put it like that. Scout wrapped her arms around her middle and leaned forward. “But, I guess, it’s your body, Scout.”

That made Scout look at him. Lucky’s hands were clasped between his legs and he was looking down at them as if they were the most interesting things in the world.

“How are we meant to do this?” Scout asked.

“What do you mean?”

“You’re going through chemotherapy. We’re living in a flat. We’ve only been together a few months.” She rested her elbows on her knees and put her face in her hands. “A baby is an impossibility.”

“Nothing is ever an impossibility, Scout.”

She picked her head up out of her hands and looked at Lucky, confused by his words. “Lucky…”

“We could do it.”

“We couldn’t…”

“We could, Scout. If you wanted to, we could.”

How was she meant to tell him that aside from everything she’d just mentioned, there was the fact she was worried. She was always worried. She was worried about the surgery and that the chemo wouldn’t work. She was worried that by the end of it all he might not… She might not have…

Scout swallowed the lump in her throat. Lately, she had become very good at imitating an ostrich with just how much she buried her head in the sand. It didn’t matter how positive she tried to be, somewhere inside there was always this pool of fear that occasionally flooded her.

“I… I just need some time to think about this.”

Lucky nodded and leaned in to kiss her. His lips were dry and chapped like they were most of the times these days. “Take all the time you need.”

He’d never pushed her with things. Scout had worried that Lucky would fly off the handle but he genuinely wanted this baby. Their baby. That phrase still felt weird to Scout.

“I’m going to crawl into bed,” she told him.

“Okay. I’ll be in in a bit.” He kissed her and got up from the bed. Scout crawled to the top of it before getting under the covers. “Whatever you decide,” Lucky told her, “I love you.”

“I love you too.”

Lucky flipped the light off as he left the room and Scout laid in the darkness, hands finding their way to her stomach as she let her brain tick over everything.

A baby was never part of her plans but then again neither was Lucky and neither was cancer. They’d have to think about their finances and living space and all sorts if they decided to do this. Scout squeezed her eyes shut. Lucky wanted this, but did she?

Somewhere along the way, he racing thoughts tired her out and she fell asleep. When she woke up she could hear Lucky talking. Scout went to open her eyes until she realised who he was talking to and then she decided to keep them shut.”

“Your Mum can be a pessimist sometimes.” Lucky’s voice was somewhere half way down the bed. “But I know we could do it. You weren’t exactly planned but life’s full of surprises.” Scout had to stop herself from crying. “And I’d wager you’re one of the best surprises I’ve had in a while.”

Scout choked back on a sob and felt Lucky shit. When she opened her eyes, he’d carefully moved back up the bed.

“A man has no privacy in his home,” Lucky muttered with a smile.

She sniffed and wiped her eyes with the heels of her palms. “You lost your privacy the moment I moved in.”

“I lost my privacy the moment I bloody met you.” Scout slapped his arm and he grinned at her before holding an arm out. Scout wriggled across the bed and Lucky wrapped an arm around her and she rested her head on his chest. “You want to tell me why you’re upset?”

Scout shook her head and Lucky kissed the top of it. She’d always taken on the world in a pretty obnoxious manner. She couldn’t take no for an answer and wanted to be seen but lately, all she wanted was to curl up and sleep. She was tired of the constant hurdles that life kept putting in her path.

“Please tell me what’s going through your head,” Lucky pleaded.

“I’m scared.”

There was silence that they’d become accustomed to. It caused a small chasm between them the moment they were faced with big decisions. It tired her out and made her feel like she was doing something wrong. A relationship should not be this difficult when it was new. It was when you threw everything you could at it.

“What are you scared of?” Lucky asked but Scout shook her head. “Tell me what you’re scared of, Scout.”

“I… I’m scared I’m going to lose you, Luck.” The words were a hoarse whisper and her heart gave an uncomfortable lurch at the confession. They hadn’t spoken about this. Not properly.

Scout loved Lucky. She loved him more than she had ever expected to. She would fight every fight for Lucky if she could but life didn’t work like that. She felt more for him in the few months she’d known him compared to the years she’d spent with Scott. If she lost Lucky she wasn’t sure what would happen. Scout wasn’t sure she could cope.

And she had genuine reason to be concerned because life had not been kind to her. Life had put her in the gutter and then given her a glimmer of kindness with Lucky before it played its best hand yet. She woke up every morning worrying about what the hell could go wrong.

“I’m sorry,” Lucky whispered.

Scout rested her face against his cheek and closed her eyes. “It’s not your fault.”

“I know, but I haven’t stopped to actually talk to you about it.”

“I didn’t really want to bring it up.”

“It’s a possibility…”

Silence.

It was a possibility. Scout knew that. They both knew that but it felt like discussing it may actually speak it into existence.

“I don’t want to talk about it anymore,” Scout told him.

“Scout…”

“Please, Lucky. I don’t want to think about it and I don’t want to discuss it. I don’t want to think about a life with you not in it.”

Lucky squeezed her into him and Scout swallowed back the tears and nausea that were building in her throat and chest. She buried her head into the crook of her neck and took a moment to just take Lucky in. She took in the scent of old books and leather. She took in just how warm he was. She took in the feel of his body against hers and how safe he made her feel.

They stayed like that for a little while, tucked into each other and in their own thoughts. She was on the cusp of falling asleep when Lucky spoke again.

“I can’t guarantee you anything, Scout but I can tell you that I’m going to fight ten times harder just to get the chance to be here for you and this little one. I don’t want to leave you. I’m scared as well but I’m trying what I can to stay here.’

It was too real. She didn’t want to hear it. Scout was happier when she could put her head in the sand. Losing Lucky wasn’t an option. It just wasn’t.

“You’re not leaving me,” she said. She spoke things into existence. Scout worked hard for the things she wanted. Fuck life. She wasn’t letting it take away the best thing that happened to her. “You aren’t leaving me because any child of yours is going to be a handful so you have to be here. End of discussion.”

“Scout…” Lucky pushed himself up a little and she moved to give him space.

“We’re both going to be moody as shit.”

“Scout…” Lucky was looking at her with big eyes.

She didn’t know if life was going to play a blinder on her but in case, just in case, she’d had a piece of Lucky with her for the rest of her life. Like he said, nothing was and impossibility.

“We should probably make a doctor’s appointment.”

Lucky grabbed her and pulled her into him, kissing her hard. “I want to tell everyone,” he said, resting his head against hers and grinning the largest she’d see since his diagnosis.

“No. No. We have to wait, Lucky.”

“Ava already knows.”

“Because she was there when I peed on the stick. Keep a lid on it for a few more weeks, please.” There were tempting fate as it was.

“Okay, fine. Fine.” He rested her hand on her stomach. “Baby James.”

“Daniels-James.”

“We’re having a boy?”

Scout groaned. “It’s going to be a long nine months.”

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