Laura stood on the shores of the Thames and let the biting
London rain fall down her back. She looked across the river and
saw people milling about with umbrellas and slickers. She scanned
the scattered bunches, unknowingly looking for a man, a man she
wasn't sure she remembered. She couldn't quite seem to get a complete
image of him in her mind, and her brain filled in the missing
pieces with bits of its own. In the final picture, the man was
slightly tall, lean and gentle looking, with dark hair and white
teeth, and a dashingly handsome smile. One thing she couldn't
imagine though, were his eyes. Her mind said green and her senses
said brown, but her heart seemed to be screaming out, "Blue,
Laura moved forward, towards the water's edge and dipped her bare foot into the lapping breakers. 'Icy' was the first word that registered in her stunned brain, and she pulled her foot back. Laura felt strange somehow, and not just cold. She felt different, changed, and incomplete. Lifting her hands awkwardly, she felt her hair, damp and stringy from the rain. Moving them down, she felt her face, cold and puffy, and frowning. She continued them downward and felt her arms, and then her sides, both barely clothed and thin. Then she came upon a variation in her search. Running her hands over her tummy, she felt large and bulbous. Looking down at her stomach, she found her hands running themselves over her distended torso. Her brain could hardly process a thought, but one seemed to sneak through the haze. Laura was pregnant. But who's baby was it? How had she gotten this way? Why was she here?
Laura reached down and felt her mid section again, only this time it was wet and warm. Lifting her hands before her face, she saw a red liquid cover them. It wasn't paint and it wasn't Kool-Aid, so it had to be what she secretly knew it was: blood. She was bleeding, and profusely. She wasn't in pain and she couldn't figure out where the blood was coming from, but she knew that something was wrong, very wrong. She knew that you shouldn't bleed like this when you're pregnant. Laura knew that something was wrong with this baby.
With that last unsettling thought, Laura cast her eyes down on her belly, but she only saw the ground. Slowly searching around, Laura couldn't understand why one minute she had a big tummy and the next she couldn't find it. She moved her hands back to where the pregnant stomach should be, but only felt her flat torso. There were no physical signs of pregnancy, and Laura knew that something bad had just happened, but what that was, she didn't know. She knew that it had to do with the baby, but now the baby wasn't there. She couldn't find it anywhere, and as Laura lifted her head to search for it, she saw the surface of the Thames for the first time. Blood spread over the Thames, even as the river's water gently lapped the shores at her feet.
Laura sat straight up. She kept her eyes closed and immediately
moved her hands to her abdomen. Of course, she had only been pregnant
for about three and a half months, so she didn't have a recognizably
pregnant stomach, but she knew. Laura could feel it. Laura shivered
as her dream ran through her mind again, only fast-forwarded this
time. She opened one eye, then the other, and could feel the clammy
sweat stick to Remington's shirt. She rubbed her hands over her
face and stomach one more time, before pushing back the covers
and sitting on the edge of the bed. She moved her feet into her
slippers and slowly stood.
Laura looked around the room, seeking out a pair of jeans and finally deciding to just get out a pair of Remington's. This outfit reminded her of that one day, a long time ago, when he had locked her in his apartment and she had worn his clothing, just like this. She knew that the dream was horrible, and that it meant something, but she wasn't sure how she should interpret it. As she continued to mull over her startling reverie, she heard him slip through the front door.
Laura heard him call her name, once, twice, and answered before the third had a chance to leave his lips. "I'm in the bedroom."
Remington heard her tone and immediately went on his guard. She seemed extraordinarily tired and worn out, and her voice seemed low, and despondent. He walked towards the bedroom door just as she opened it and came out. She was wearing his clothing, and he knew she looked good in it. He couldn't help but admire her graceful form, as it gave his clothes new life. "Well, Laura, did you sleep well?"
She just stared at him, in an off-handed sort of way. He seemed older than young to her now, mostly due to his worry over the condition she was facing, which was unrevealed as of yet. She knew the undue stress would tear away at him, bit by bit, and she knew she was the cause of this undue stress. She always seemed to have a problem with causing others unwanted stress, as seen by both her father's and Wilson's disappearances in her life. God only knew when he would leave her, too. "Fine, I slept just fine," Laura lied, in a listless voice. She headed around the sofa and into the kitchen. Remington had nothing to do but follow her.
"Is there something the matter? Are you sick or hurting anywhere, Laura? How is your arm?" His questions were drawn out a little, most likely because of his concerned tone of voice, but seemed to be in enough of a succession to be received as almost rapid-fire. Laura never turned, never looked at him. She continued on a slow and deliberate trek through the kitchen and back into the living room.
Laura couldn't seem to gather her thoughts. She could only think of two things: Lady Macbeth wringing her hands and trying to rid them of the blood and leaving. Laura herself seemed to be moving slowly around the apartment, trying to purge her mind of the horribly telling images in her dream. What could they mean? What could they mean? I must leave
Remington followed her like a faithful hound. She moved about at a constantly slow pace, which, now and then, was slackened to a halt. Laura seemed thoroughly preoccupied with other thoughts, thoughts that provoked a dreaded sense of change about the environment. Remington felt ill and definitely not at ease as Laura continued her unchanging, measured rhythm. He couldn't decide whether to stop her and ask what was wrong, or to continue to lag behind, letting Laura deal with whatever it was that was causing her to be this way.
After two more steps, Laura abruptly stopped and turned to look at her husband. "Are you cooking dinner or are we going out tonight?" She had made up her mind. She had come up with a solution of sorts. Laura didn't particularly like the idea that had presented itself to her, but from her viewpoint, she could see no other possible solution that was acceptable to her. Laura just stood and watched Remington's mouth drop open. She moved past him now, passing into the bedroom to get a heavier shirt to put over his dress shirt, for she was suddenly cold all over. Normally Laura wouldn't mind being a little chilly, but now that she was harboring a living child inside of her, Laura became extremely conscious of even the littlest things.
Remington stayed where he was; he couldn't move, he was rooted to the spot. He looked into a void and was stunned. What the bloody hell had just happened? Remington couldn't understand why his wife was acting so strange lately. Remington knew for certain now that something was wrong with her, now all he had to do was figure out what exactly it was. He was still standing where she had left him, when she emerged from the bedroom. Laura looked at him, examining his features, and shrugged her shoulders.
"What are you standing there for? You never answered my question?"
Laura had everything prepared. She had the travel plans to
Pennsylvania mapped out in her head. Laura had already decided
which clothes she would take with her, if any, and what other
items she would bring along. She had all her arrival destinations
and departure sites clear, and she knew what she would do, where
she would do it, and how she would do it, all down to the last
insignificant detail. It had been about another month and a half
since Laura had first heard Ian Wexlan tell her she was carrying
a baby. She could only imagine the look she had given him. Four
and a half months pregnant, Laura was four and a half months pregnant.
She couldn't risk staying much longer, she was already beginning
to get a little tummy. Yet, she was afraid. Laura was afraid that
her plans would fall through, that Remington would find out and
try to stop her, that she wouldn't have the nerve to leave everything
behind and start fresh somewhere else. Laura was mostly afraid,
however, for the baby. Could Laura deal with the trials and tribulations
of single parenthood? Could she even deal with being a parent
if she stayed? Laura sat down heavily in her office chair, one
hand over her tummy, the other over her eyes.
Remington found his wife looking sickly and pale, sitting in her desk chair, as he strode happily into her office. He immediately went on guard, fearing the worst. Walking over to her desk and sitting on the corner, Remington voiced his concerns.
"Darling, are you all right?
"Don't you ever knock on doors?"
"Would you like anything? Water? Whiskey? An ambulance?"
"Do you have to be constantly near me twenty-five of the twenty-four hours in a day?"
"Laura, seriously, do you need any medical attention? Are you experiencing any abnormal pains?"
"Is the word 'no' in your vocabulary? Do you even know when enough is enough?"
"Dammit, Laura, what's wrong?"
"Dammit, Remington, just go!" Laura slumped her head into both of her hands now, rubbing her tired eyes.
Remington knew when he was unwanted, and apparently this was one of those moments. He couldn't stand to leave, but she obviously disliked him for some reason right now, so he thought it best to just leave quietly. As Remington moved to open the door leading to his own office, he heard her mumble something. Because he was not entirely sure he was meant to hear what she had said, Remington paused.
Laura sensed his hesitation and repeated what she had mumbled to him in a clearer voice. "Don't go. Not yet, anyway." Remington heard her loud and clear this time, as if she were saying it right into his ear. He stopped and removed his hand from the knob, but didn't turn around to face her.
"Please stay, just for a little while. I didn't mean to snap at you that way. I'm just ugh stressed, that's all." Remington had always known Laura took the word 'workaholic' to the max, but he never dreamed what the sheer magnitude of stress must do to her. She lifted worn and weary eyes to his face.
"I'm not feeling so wonderful lately, but its not you," she lied to him, as usual. "I just ohhh I don't know. I'm feeling some pressure lately. Really though, I'm fine, I swear. I don't need a doctor or anything like that, I promise." Remington moved silently closer to her. Before she could stop what he was doing, Remington had her in a gently sympathetic embrace. He unknowingly placed his hand on her stomach, feeling her tense immediately.
"Is your stomach bothering you? I saw you holding it earlier." Laura tried to act nonchalant, as she softly removed his hand and held it in her own, as she weakly smiled at him.
"No, don't worry about anything, Remington. I can take care of all my problems myself. Honestly, I'm ok." Remington continued to eye her cautiously, before giving her one of his smiles. She smiled up at him as he removed himself from her desk and headed towards the inter-office linking door.
"I have a surprise that may help take your mind off your troubles. We've been invited to have dinner with your sister and her family tonight. I've accepted. Maybe a little time with family will be just the thing you need to put a little zest back in your step." With that, he entered his office.
Laura put her head on her desk and moaned. Frances, Donald, and the kids: family was NOT the one thing she needed to make her better. It was making her worse.