„Geez, Ant! Where do all these crazy, fluffy bunny costumes come from all off a sudden?!“
Anton snickers and steps down from a ladder, having fixed a honeycomb to a spot.
„I flew in Hugh Hefner and his Playmates for a shoot!“
„Stop mocking at me – that’s not funny! You know I hate this kind of plastic coated photography!“
„I’m just messing! A friend of mine called. She wants to give her class a little farewell goodie before leaving for Japan – getting married. All those sweet little toddlers in those fluffy costumes – isn’t that sweet? I thought this would be just right for you – kicking up work flow in your studio. So I ordered the stuff straight over here.“
„Errrr...I’d prefer some more profound work.“ Scratching my chin I continue.„Sorry, don’t want to sound complaining, Ant darling! I’m too spoiled already with the last shootings. Geez, those Foo Fighters sessions still buzz in my head – and then The White Stripes...boy, I need more! And yes – I know it’s also ‚bread and butter’ a lot of times. Must be my PMS kicking in, argh!“
Anton moves over, takes the white bunny costume, that’s still dangling from my hand, and then hugs me cordially.
„Hey, hey...that bad? So no little feet kicking soon?“
He hasn’t nearly finished his sentence when I already dash for the restroom – feeling sick. The truth is – I have no clue. I didn’t do a stick yet and haven’t seen the gyn so far – being too scared to get the bad news. After Dave left for New York my period started nearly on time about three weeks later – not really intense, but with all the usualy, uneasy side effects. And now another month is over and all looks like in schedule. All? I have to bend over the porcelain bowl again and retch. Bullshit! That’s just my nerves again! Why did Anton have to mention it at all?!
„You’re OK, Siv?“
„Yeah, sure. The warmed up lasagne might not have been alright last night. Andy is still out – doing some DJ sets in Israel. Good luck he will be back tonight.“
Anton watches me with sort of fatherly look.
„You do not sound really happy. Wanna talk about it?“
„Not necessarily, Ant. Don’t feel ticked down. We’ve grown close over the time and I know you are very aware of how I tick sometimes – just not now. It’s better I keep somehow busy – not thinking too much. And there’s lots to prepare for the Easter holidays. My sister and family are coming over to visit.“
„Never mind, big girl! I better get to my own chaos pit now to cut the last sequences of the video I work on. I see you around!“
When the sound of his feet faded on the wooden floor and the front door claps I sink down onto one of the posh black couches that crown my welcome and chat area of the studio. It’s only half of the truth. Keeping busy working. I’m not really getting anything substantial done – except the mentioned shoots – though even then I merely did function but be my real self. I’m stupid, I know! I even haven’t called Curly to cry on his shoulder. Poor sod has enough on his plate himself with Viva at the moment. Last info I got was him messaging me a month ago that he took the matter into his hands now and that he, Suzy and the two girls had a meeting at a family councelor. Since then – nothing.
Nothing – same goes for David. We parted with the promise not to contact each other for a reasonable while – after having had another painful talk with Andy. Reasonable in his book would have been never again, but even he had to admit that this was not realistic. A clean cut – that sounds so clear and obvious – yet is it?
I remember Andy’s face when I got my monthly bleeds. He tapped into the bathroom when I was taking care of them – well, we do not hide in front of each other – he could have asked to come in that time though. Was it relief or something else? I can’t tell – it was an odd mixture of feelings flicking over his features. He didn’t say a word – just quickly hugged me and then left the room again. Needless to say he didn’t touch me for that week. Then we had sex again – yes, sex. Well, every now and then there was a glimpse of making love – but before it could unfold it slipped through our hands kinda – leaving especially me empty.
Oh, Sivvi – stop doing this to yourself!
I jump up and grab my jacket and scarf – reaching for the car keys on the table.
The path along the old graves leads towards a little, round yard. Time by time my eyes catch weathered letters on crumbly marble or granite – telling about eternal love for passed by souls – and the grief of the ones left behind. I don’t know why I’m doing this – something drives me – and I feel a shiver down my back.
Turning left the tomb stone comes in sight. Dark, green Connemara marble.
What am I doing here?!
There’s a fresh, dark red rose resting on the grave’s middle on the evergreen foliage. Knowing Andy is away he must have ordered services. Oh my!
Just staring for several minutes I put my hand into the pocket of my jeans and drag out the two rings. I still do not wear them – which might add to the tension that I sense between Andy and me. No, I haven’t decided yet – though I should.
A cramp in my lower abdomen lets me wince and I shake my head. What did I expect? Do I want to spend the rest of my life grieving? That’s just not me!
When a hand pads my shoulder I literally jump, the rings rolling down to the sandy ground. Andrew goes down to his haunches, picking them cautiously up. Without a word he then turns towards me.
„I don’t want to loose you as well. Come, give me your hand.“
Like in a haze I obey and he slips his one first over my finger. Then, fixing me for a moment again, also Dave’s one.
„And now let’s go and see Dr. Ashcroft for a proper check up.“
„Christ, Andy – I thought...“
„Yes, I know – but I returned a day earlier. No more now, please.“
He kisses me softly – with an emotional intensity I dearly missed the last time.
My head is still buzzing while we sit in the waiting area – surrounded by a few very pregnant looking females. Can’t say I feel comfortable with the situation. Andy’s hand again – taking mine and squeezing it gently.
„This is no shock therapy, believe me. I just think we all need a validated statement.“ He smiles at me behind his fashy glasses. „Yes, I can read your mind.“
The check up itself passes quickly. Dr. Ashroft is nice as always. It’s the waiting that kills me nearly. The ultrasound did not reveal anything obvious – as usual the blood samples will have to tell.
When the gynaecologist returns with some sheets of paper his expression does not give anything away yet.
„OK, let’s see.“ When he looks up again his eyes are blinking at me.
„So you did take my advice and tried again as soon as possible. Congrats! Hormones show a reasonable increase – and before you ask why you still have your bleeds – it occurs a lot of times. Knowing you and your stress level it doesn’t surprise me at all to be honest.“
I sink back into the seat, shellshocked. That’s impossible! At the same time Dave’s „Nothing’s impossible“ pops up in my brain as well. Facing Andy still puzzled I see him slowly nodding his head.
„I don’t know why but I had a suspicion. Well, maybe I was hoping for it.“ Then he bends over and kisses me long and passionately.
„Alright, so how’s this all going on then?“ I look back at Dr. Ashcroft.
He turns serious.
„I should put you on bedrest with regards to your medical records.“
„Do you want to be responsible for my passing? She will drive me nutz!“
„Well, lets face it – this is for sure going to be a closely monitored, complicated pregnancy – especially for the next 3 or 4 months.“
I sigh and know he’s right.
„OK, I’ll try to be as careful as possible – and if it means lying in the bed like a whale on dry land – so be it! I so much want and need this baby!“
„We, angel – we want it.“ He kisses me again. A warm, happy feeling is flowing kinda through my complete body – mixed with fear.
Dr. Ashcroft seems to interprete my changing expressions the right way. He gently pats the back of my right hand.
„Joy and fear are a good combination. Don’t be scared now about all the things that are lying ahead. You are in the best hands. Hopefully I won’t see you here in the maternity ward before time – so if you follow my easy instructions and take the few meds I will prescribe you it should be bearable.“
„Am I allowed to use a golf cart to chase Andy around the premises? I doubt I will make it 24/7 just in the bed.“
Andy bursts into uncontrollable laughter and the doc looks a bit irritated.
„Sorry, that’s an insider!“
I can’t help to snicker too remembering Dave cruizing around in one during a sound check – nearly driving into several roadies – having his fun.
„The bedrest is just for the next critical weeks. And no emotional stress, of course.“
He makes some notes in the record and clicks away on the keyboard of his PC.
„I also suggest no sex as the oxytocin might have undesired effects – plus other obvious factors.“ He grins now.
„I know that’s a tough call, but always remember what you are going to achieve.“
„Not even oral?“
„Well, forced contractions of any kind are not desirable. I don’t need to explain to you what happens during a climax – what origin ever – right?“
We are both silent, sitting in a limo back home. Home?!
„This time we’re not telling anybody anything before it’s safe, right?“
„Gosh, imagine all the people driving us nutz giving „good advice“ – and me lying in the bed not being able to defend myself!“
„Put it this way: Some more people knowing could get me a bit more time to breathe – and I wouldn’t pester you off after having seen me all day long.“
„I consider to sleep in the guestroom – avoiding the temptations.“
„Andrew John Fletcher!“
„Shush – the driver is already looking, baby!“
„You are not allowed to put me under unnecessary emotional stress!“
„Siv, you decide. I just don’t want any more drama concerning his family affairs.“
His look is stern now.
„If we are lucky we both got what we wanted – let’s not jinx it.“
„OK, so no hints to Mart, Dave and Jack.“
„That might be wise.“ He curls up the edges of his lips a little.
„Though I see you kinda bursting to tell it David. Just think – is it worth it?“
After a week more or less in bed not only my nerves are tensed like barb wire. I’m just throwing a dianette after Andy who mocked on my complaints that I couldn’t spend all day in front of the TV or laptop screen – left alone on the phone!
„It’s friggin boring!“
Andy just lets out a sonorous laugh but I see how he rolls his eyes. He simply places the shoe back next to the other on the carpet aside the bed and lets himself sink onto the edge.
„Poor, poor angel!“ Then his lips press onto mine and I immediately feel his excitement – though he tries to hide it well. Looking down at him I see a prominent bulge in his boxer shorts. My view doesn’t go unnoticed and he takes my hand and places it just over it.
„That’s not fair.“
„Nothing is fair in love and war – remember?“
He starts rubbing my palm over his growing hard on, groaning and kissing me again. I feel the wetness pooling in my groin and sigh inwardly.
„Andy, darling – please don’t get me all worked up, too – you know, what the doctor told us. If you go on like this I’m done in no time.“
„I didn’t expect this to be so tough.“ He lets my hand go and slips his fingers between my legs instead.
„Hey, no way!“
„Just testing – gosh, you’re soaking already!“
He teasingly licks his glistening fingers and gets up.
„OK, OK – I will be a good boy and take care of myself in the shower.“
I close my eyes for a second, imaging the scene and shudder.
„Don’t make too obvious loud noises – or it’s useless anyway.“
„Crank up the stereo, baby!“
„What do you think you’re doing in the kitchen?“
I stand at the fridge to get me some more of the insanely declicious chocolate mousse Mrs. Haighecooked yesterday – which is melting in the mouth leaving pleasant shudders all over my skin.
„Argh, come on, Andy! I’m not handicapped! Just felt the urge to get something sweet. Having no sex is not really helpful for my shape. And the little one in here is for sure going to be a sweet tooth – yikes!“
Andrew slams the door of the refrigerator shut and before I can glimpse he cradles me in his arms and carries me back to the bedroom.
„Oh, please! You make me feel like a senior citizen!“
Just to tease him I smack him a few smeary chocolate kisses onto his cheeks. He looks hilarious now.
„Hell, Siv! I can’t be around all the time to check if you are a good girl and follow the doctor’s advice! Please, don’t get me worried. I have lots of work to do the next days. You know – we are going into the studio soon to record new material.“
„No, but I will be in Santa Barbara from the ends of April.“ He musters me. „And I’m glad that you should be on the safe side by then. So would you be nice now and don’t make Andy angry?“
Awww, he’s so sweet when he’s pouting!
Andy waves with the cardboard sign and Vada shows a big grin – giving the luggage trolley another push. Her husband carries the sleepy little dark haired boy in his arms.
„Hello, Andy! Good to finally see you in person! Geez I can’t believe it! This is Torsten, my better half – with Tom.“
Andy smiles back and his eyes meet the other guy’s ones – obviously rolling them as if he wanted to say something about „My wifey, the fan“.
„Vay, Torsten – shush, lets not wake your precious one there. The car is waiting for us.“
The little group makes it to the terminal exit – through all the masses of people buzzing in and out like busy ants. Nobody seems to pay attention.
„How was your flight? I heard you had probs with the air condition?“
„Yeah, you telling me! Sorry, we’re late – but blame it on BA! My ears still hurt like hell!“
Vada leans comfortably back into the soft leather cushions, watching her son still sleeping like a little angel.
„No prob. We’re used to it over here. I can count the occasions on one hand – not having had a delay – especially at Heathrow.“
„You telling me – I suppose Sivvi told you about her adventurous, extended stay a few years ago.“
He musters the woman opposite of his with his clear blue eyes. Quite different impression opposed to the chats they already had on Skype.
„I hope you won’t be too disappointed being left alone with two women and a toddler – though it’s near Easter I have some business to attend in Edinburgh the next days.“ Torsten grins at his wife and then at Andrew. „Suppose you will survive though. Once those two maniacs started chatting they won’t even recognize an atomic bomb dropping!“
„Oh, come on! We’re not that bad!“ She pokes him jokingly into his side. Andy lets out a tiny laugh.
„Oh well, I’m glad if I’d have a little more extra time on my own now. You have no idea what that woman is capable of!“
„Hah, I for sure know, Andy – I’m her sister!“
„No, Lady – you stay where you are – IN bed!“
I know it’s useless to start another fight with my sis on this topic. She just took the tablet with the dirty dinner dishes and left for the kitchen. The fat grin on Andy’s face doesn’t help either. He definitely seems to enjoy the idea having kinda „general“ in the house now. Tom pops back into the room, balancing two glass bowls with vanilla icecream and hot cherries. I already see them on the carpet yet he proudly manages to get them over to the bed.
„Thanx , sweetie!“ I plant a tiny kiss onto his left cheek and he beams at me, crawling onto the duvet.
„Looks, I have another man at my side now, Andy darling. You are allowed to leave – for what business ever.“
Andrew now holds his stomach laughing loudly.
„And don’t think this is your dessert.“
„Awww, nooo! Please, you can’t be that cruel!“
Tom moves his head towards Andy and presents him his half finished bowl.
„Nah, little man – you finish what you started – but thank you, that’s sweet of you.“
He caresses the boy’s dark, curly hair and I can see the glimmer in his eyes. Quickly I place my dessert onto the night stand and drag him by his sleeve – closer to me – to be able to kiss him gently onto his lips. Tom giggles and moves a little to the other side of the bed. Now we can properly hug.
„God, Sivvi – I pray each day it’s going to be OK...just be patient, Sweetheart. I can’t wait to see his eyes.“
„His?“ „Figure of speech – he, she...you know I would love each the same!“
Tom meanwhile finished his icecream and tries to clean his sticky fingers at his new sweat shirt. I just can stop him in time.
„No, no, no...your mommy will be pestered! Go and wash your hands. You can go with Andy, if you want.“
The little boy smiles and then jumps down from the bed, reaching out his sticky palms. I can’t hide a smirk when I see Andrew ushering him into our bathroom.
„What are you grinning at, sis?“ Vada appears in the bedroom.
„I just saved you a sweat shirt. Andy’s in there, showing Tom how to clean his hands.“
„Not only his hands!“, comes a sonorous voice from the adjacent room. „He’s sticky all over!“
Tom is squeeking and then he already comes running back, ending up in his mother’s arms.
„Mmmmmm, you smell lovely and clean, my sweet!“ Vada cuddles with him.
Now I also get a wave and the smell let’s every fibre of my body tense. Damn you, Andy! Couldn’t you use anything else but Dave’s shower gel?!
„You know that you’re a lucky bitch?“
Vay lolls next to me in the king size bed. It’s way after midnight and we are still busy with our „sista talk“. Andy and Torsten are out to a club. It’s a good thing – men’s business sorta – and he hasn’t done that the last weeks to stay with me.
„You ‚suppose’ so?!“
Fact is I haven’t told her everything there is to know. Nothing more about David nor Jack for sure. She still supects Martin to be my lover though. And as if she’s seen this thought running through my eyes she grins at me.
„Martin! Is he good in bed?“
„Uh uh, he is! You can’t hide it! I always suspected there was more than just friendship between the two of you. Isn’t he a bit short for you? God – does Andy know?!“
„Geez, relax, Vay! You got to know him in Hamburg. He’s not just like that. As for Andrew – yes, he knows.“
„I don’t get it! And I always thought you were after the other hottie – Dave I mean.“
She looks for the rings.
„So it ended with...the loss of the baby. Apparently he’s still happily married. I recently saw pics in a newspaper. That daughter of his is a real cutie!“
„Yep, she is a real twinkling tiny star.“
„You met her?!“
I adjust myself in my pillow.
„Listen, Vada – being with Andy means I meet the guys on a regular basis – cause they’re working with each other and they and their families are friends. There’s nothing spectacular about it.“
Reaching for the mineral bottle I remember Viva.
„One of Mart’s daughters seems to have a bit of a problem. He poured his heart out to me.“ I take her hand into mine now. „Would you mind to talk to her if she should visit us? I think you’re just the right person to get involved with.“
Vay looks puzzled and then her eyes grow bigger.
„You mean, she’s...?“
„Yes, sadly she seems to go down that road. They are in therapy as I heard – yet it can’t hurt to talk to someone who knows what’s going on first hand – and who succeeded.“
„Oof. Now that’s a strong cup of tea. The eldest one?“
„Poor Martin. Now I start to get a tiny glimpse why you two seem to stick your heads together all the time.“
Sis, if you would know what else we stick together...!
„You see – no need for pedestals of any kind – I’m surrounded by human beings, you know.
Well, at least I hope!
„Anyway, it’s a bit weird reading about exactly those guys in the tabloids. When will you appear on the menu?“
„I hope not too early – if at all. Remember that you haven’t seen or heard much about Grainne before? Andy for sure knows how to protect his and our privacy. So you have to promise me as well to keep all you get to know to yourself, OK?“
„Come on, I’m your sister! What runs in the family stays within – you know our parents.“ She lets out a sarcastic laugh. Then she turns slightly and pats my tummy.
„You little one in there – listen carefully now. Better stay where you belong – you don’t want to mess with me!“
I pull her into a firm embrace.
„Any time! I will make sure you rest – though a flee circus is easier to handle!“