I hate being overprotective.
She hates it when I get overprotective.
Can’t stop though. I just love her so much, and I worry; I’ve been worrying since that night at college. I can’t help it, protecting her is basically instinct nowadays.
Which is why that accident pretty much killed me. I’d spent all this time protecting her from... I don’t know, life, and I couldn’t even do that.
Anastasia has told me, many times, that the accident wasn’t my fault. That there was nothing anyone could’ve done, because it wasn’t something anyone expected.
There were a lot of factors that, on a normal day, wouldn’t have mattered. Ana’s slow driving, her leaving when she did. The other drive, Vince Reed, pushing on for a few more miles to the next rest stop because his haul had to be in Maine that Friday morning. But, for some reason, all those small factors on that day happening simultaneously both ended life and shook up a marriage that was rock solid not even an hour before.
We laid on the bed, her hands in my hair “Stop,” I heard Anastasia say to me.
I lifted my head up. We had to be somewhere soon, but it wouldn’t hurt to lay there a little longer.
“What did I do?”
“Stop thinking about whatever you’re thinking about.”
“What am I thinking about?”
“Something negative. You’re tense, the hair on the back of your neck is standing up, and if I don’t know anything you else I know that you’re a natural worrier.”
I sighed, “Not worried, just thinking.” She stayed quiet, “Hey, what do you remember so far?”
She thought for a second and I shifted so that my body was facing her. “Let’s see, I, um- I don’t remember a lot but I remember a few big milestones between us. Like how we met, our first fight, the accident, the night that you were my night in a shining leather jacket.” She paused to take a breath. “Yeah, like I said, just a few things, but,” she shrugged, “pretty important.”
When I didn’t say anything, she sighed and said, “Sit up, lean back against the headboard.”
“Just do it, please.” I reluctantly did as I was told.
“Now,” she said, as she put one leg one either side of mine, “I’m going to straddle you; to make you feel better.
“You don’t have to make me feel better.”
“Yes, I do, I’m your wife; apparently, I signed up for this. If you get to worry, I get to try and make you stop.” Anastasia poked my chest with a smile, “Tell me when I’m crushing your legs, okay?” I smiled and nodded. “Good, now gimme a kiss because I actually have to move, we’ve got to be at the hospital soon.”
She gave me a peck, but it wasn’t enough. I grabbed the sides her face just as she began to move away, kissing her for a few more seconds.
When I let her go she punched me softly, ’Stop, you always do that.”
“Because you never give me enough love.”
“Let me help you out,” I told Anastasia as I turned the car off and got out, but by the time I was around the car she was already getting out. “You just don’t listen; do you do that just to spite me?”
“No, I’m a grown woman. I do what I want because I want to.”
Mood swing, I thought. They were never really expected, but they were serious.
She tried to grab my hand, but I moved it because I’m a dumb asshole sometimes.
“What’s all that about?”
I shook my head, “Nope, you’re being mean.”
“Fine,” she crossed her arms across her chest and made her way toward the hospital. I followed behind her quietly after closing her door and locking the car.
We were almost at the double doors when she stopped and waited for me to catch up. When I did she wordlessly grabbed my hand. I smiled down at her and she rolled her eyes and started walking again, but didn’t let my hand go.
I kissed the side of her forehead and she waved me off before wiping the spot. I stopped walking and turned to her. She was about say something when I kissed her forehead again, then everywhere I could on her face before she stopped me.
“What the heck, dude? Quit it.”
“Why’d you wipe off my kiss? You really think I’d take kindly to something so mean?”
“No, I ju-”
“You just what? What could I possibly have done?” I she didn’t say anything, I moved in again.
“I don’t know, but stop kissing me, okay? I’m sorry, I’m not mad; can we please just go in?”
“Sure.” We started to walk again, neither of us said anything as her hand found its way back to mine and her fingers intertwined themselves in mine.
We entered the building and I heard Ana sigh as she laid her head against my upper arm.
It was recommended by both Dr. Strauss and Dr. Lovett for Anastasia to be wheeled around the hospital by me in a wheelchair.
I had her sit down while I went to get one from a nurse. Once I had it, I wheeled Ana down to Neurology. Her check up with Strauss went fine, after that we headed over to the Maternity wing.
I could tell that Anastasia really liked Dr. Lovett, and I couldn’t say I hated her either. “Ooh, the Meyers family, my favorite patients,” she said when she finally came into the room, “don’t tell anyone I said that though.”
“I don’t really know if I can keep a secret like that, Mari.”
“Hey, I’m trusting you.”
“Fine, I’ll try.”
“Good. Alright...” she pulled up our information on the computer in her lap, “29 weeks, right?” We nodded, “Only seven weeks ’til arrival. Keeping that bed rest?”
“Oh, yes, he is making sure.”
I scoffed, “It’s not like you listen.”
“Oh, hush, bringing up old stuff.”
“Old stuff? How long did it take us to get out of the parking lot?”
“Hey, you two, back to business. How long has it been since you felt each baby kick?”
I looked over at Anastasia as she pointed to three different spots on her stomach.
“He,” she said as she pointed somewhere on her right side, “kicked about an hour ago. Same goes for my little girl one at the bottom. Now, number three seems much more calm and I can go hours with hearing from him, but I’m a little worried. I can remember exactly, but it’s been like a day or so.”
The doctor’s eyebrows furrowed, “Okay, I’ll check up on him in a minute.”
She asked a few more questions, then did a routine checkup and told us a few more things we needed to know until we saw her again.
“Alrighty, I think that’s it. Let’s check on those babies.” She flipped a switch and we watched the machine came to life.
She picked up the tube if ultrasound gel, “You ready, Mama?”
“Mhm,” Anastasia nodded and pulled up her shirt. As Dr. Lovett squirted the gel on her stomach I saw her gulp, I couldn’t keep myself from grabbing her hand. She looked up at me and squeezed my hand.
“Okay, baby number one.” She was on the right side of Anastasia’s stomach. “Lookin’ good, baby boy. Strong heartbeat, beautiful.”
She looked around making sure that nothing was at risk of harming him, then moved on to the girl.
“Alright,” she said once she was done with the other two, “little guy, let’s check you out.” She added some more gel. “There he is, now let’s look for that heartbeat...”
Oh, no. Please, no.
“Hmm, that’s weird; there’s the the heart, but it’s not...”
No, this isn’t happening, not to us.
Anastasia’s hand flew to her mouth, tears were already in her eyes. “What’s wrong? His heart, it- it isn’t - oh my god.”
I couldn’t move, I couldn’t speak; I didn’t want to. The doctor ended up having to do my job of comforting Ana, because I couldn’t even take my eyes off to the monitor. It felt like I was in a nightmare I couldn’t wake up from.
I actually felt like I wanted to cry, but I never cried; so, I just sat, frozen.
I didn’t really even remember leaving the hospital, but eventually I was driving home. Later that night I sat on the couch, were I’d been for hours just staring at the wall, and heard Anastasia crying.
While I was staring at the wall, she was lying in bed crying. I finally couldn’t take just sitting while she cried anymore. I stood up and walked into the room, wordlessly, I went over and slipped into the bed next to her.
She turned to me and buried her face in the crook of my neck. I wrapped my arms her and stroked her hair, but stared at the ceiling. I knew there was nothing I could say this time to make it hurt any less than it did for the both of us.
So, I didn’t say anything.