“Would we be opposed to having it at a restaurant? I know recreational places are out of the question… we’d have to deal with cleaning and clearing out of there at a certain time, and I’m just not about that.”
“We could, but… I’d want something a little more personal and private than being in a restaurant. But that’s just me!”
“No, no, and we can do whatever you want, this is for you.” Lauren assured with a smile as she opened her planner. “Well, what if we were to have it here? At our place? It could be indoor or outdoor, or both, we could look into placing a plexiglass flooring over the pool, I think that would be nice.”
Lauren, her sister, and a few of their friends were gathered at her residence, planning Alexandra’s baby shower. The producers of the show decided to make the planning effort as the trigger to the episode’s main topic, which was Nick and Lauren discussing and deciding on whether they were interested in having children or not.
“That would be nice,” Alexandra agreed, “but… Nick wouldn’t mind?”
“Nick wouldn’t mind what?”
All of their heads turned to address the new and sudden voice, to which they’re greeted by Nick who had entered the kitchen where they were gathered and planning. He had gone to meet up with a few Syfy network representatives to discuss his upcoming film that was in the works. He tossed his keys onto the counter and leaned over to give his wife a peck on the lips. “What would I not mind?” he asked softly to her.
“Well, we’re planning Alexandra’s baby shower, and I figured we could host it here. She wants something intimate and private and our place is big enough to accomodate.”
Nick’s eyes squinted as he continued to stare at her, as if oblivious to the other women in the kitchen. “Hmm, it depends.... will you be kicking me out for this day?”
Lauren chuckled and rolled her eyes, glancing over at her sister, “We were thinking both sexes could be there.”
“Then of course I don’t mind! Can’t say no to free food!”
“Really Nick?” she scolded playfully, slapping his butt as he walked past her.
Nick could only shrug as he grabbed a cup from the sink rack and made his way to the fridge, pulling out the gallon of orange juice and pouring himself a tall glass. “There’s not much men would get out of attending a baby shower other than the free food. Think about it, all those games like collecting clothespins whenever you say her name or the word ‘baby’, or those unscramble and nursery rhyme worksheets, we SUCK at those!”
“There’s some baby shower games for men to play, that doesn’t require my baby to think too much.” Lauren teased in a cooing voice.
Nick jokingly mocked her as he sat himself down across from the group, “I’m just saying, I’m a very competitive person, and I wouldn’t like losing to women who naturally have the upper hand in beating me in something.”
The women laughed at Nick’s claim. “Seems like you two would have a very interesting baby shower!”
Them, having a baby shower? Ha, yeah right! “When are you two thinking about having some little Carters running around anyway?” Alexandra pried.
Nick arched his eyebrow at her question. Him and Lauren… having a baby?! She couldn’t be serious. These women may not know him as well as his wife does, but Lauren must surely agree that they are nowhere near ready for a child. Her career of becoming an ambassador for wellness and fitness is taking off, he and the guys have plans of recapturing their glory days that show no signs of stopping; where was a baby to fit in all of this?!
He glanced over at Lauren, expecting her to answer her friend’s question. Instead, he found her staring at him, brows raised and shoulders shrugged, worrying at her bottom lip. “Well, uh…” she finally drawled out.
Oh, was she wanting him to answer that question?! “Us, having kids?!” he scoffed, “Not in the forecast anytime soon!” he missed the features immediately falling from Lauren’s face. “I mean, let’s face it, she married a big kid, we don’t need a bunch of whiny, snotty mini-me’s running around!” he laughed. “So good luck, and have fun with that life Alex, but that’s not the life I want.”
When nothing but silence was the only response he got, he looked around to find all eyes trained on him. Alexandra looked completely shocked, while Lauren’s sister looked horrified. Lauren on the other hand, was seething; her mouth slightly parted and a look of pure disbelief twisted with anger.
He jumped at the horrid sound of the chair scraping painfully across the marbled floor as Lauren pushed up from where she sat and stalked off. Having forgot about the VH1 production team that filled his home, the staff and cameramen peered out from behind the cameras, puzzled features etched across their faces as if pondering if they should stop filming, as the script had surely escalated.
Without excusing himself, he left them all behind in search for his wife, finding her in their bedroom. She was seated on the bed, her right leg bouncing up and down, breathing deeply in and out in attempts to calm herself.
“Did I say something wrong?” was all Nick asked as he wandered further into the room, breaking the painful silence.
He immediately shied in on himself when her head shot up, her eyes like daggers, piercing right through him. “I guess I really did marry a big kid, huh? You seriously gonna come and ask me that like you have no clue?! My husband, the one I actually married, wouldn’t have said that!”
“Well, you didn’t say anything to YOUR friend’s question, I felt like I was put on the spot! What did you want me to say?! It’s the next step to our ‘first comes love, then comes marriage, finally a baby in a baby carriage’?! Better yet, why don’t you tell me what YOU would have said, and why you never said anything in the first place?”
“I would have handled it a lot better than you, that’s for damn sure!” Lauren retorted as she shot up from the bed and marched over to the bedroom door, slamming it shut. “Responding with a simple ‘not right now’ wouldn’t have hurt, don’t you think?!”
“Like I said, I felt like I was put on the spot! You know how I am when I’m put under pressure; I don’t like that shit, and it’s like I have word vomit, I’ll say whatever to get out of it. You should’ve answered with that instead of waiting for me to answer… staring at me like you’re one of my fans.”
Wrong thing to say. Lauren folded her arms across her chest, her eyes narrowing into slits. “One. Of. Your. Fans? Nickolas Gene Carter, I am your wife goddamnit! You’ve not only degraded me by claiming what or who I married, but you’ve also humiliated me and my friends to be played out for the WORLD to see!”
“Don’t be so dramatic,” Nick rolled his eyes and muttered, “they edit and cut out what we don’t want before it airs.” a few tense seconds of silence ensued. “So tell me Lauren, what would you have said? How exactly would you have handled it ‘better than me’?! Because if I recall, there was nothing but silence and you staring at me, and I’m pretty sure your ‘better than me’ opportunity would have required actual words.”
Lauren simply shrugged as she waved her arms around in emphasis, “I would have told them it was something we talked about…” she stated matter-of-factly.
“But have we?” Nick shot back as he came to stand in front of her, “Have you and I really ever talked about the idea of having a child?”
“Nick, I’m not going through this with you, I don’t want to argue.” Lauren groaned, rolling her eyes. “Of course we’ve talked about it before!”
“Then what did I say? Do you remember what I’ve said, how I felt about having a child right now?”
She remained silent, as if processing his question and downloading a response. “Oh, so this doesn’t include me and what I want?”
Nick sighed heavily, “That is not what I’m saying, stop putting words in my mouth…”
“No, you’re completely right Nick...” she continued as she made her way back over to the bed; flopping down on it and mockingly patting the empty space next to her, “why don’t we sit down and talk about it? No, I’m sorry, since this is all about you, why don’t YOU sit down and tell me all about it? I’ll just sit here and listen!”
“If you’re gonna be a smartass about it…” he mumbled, but Lauren’s endless rant drowned him out.
“Another thing you’re right about, I guess I really did marry a big ass kid who doesn’t realize marriage involves two, not just one! So why don’t you tell me all that YOU want? Do you want have a child? Do you one day want to start a fam-”
“NO I DON’T WANT A FUCKING CHILD!!!” Nick roared, rendering Lauren completely silent. “Since you’re so fucking righteous and hell bent on living by our vows, why don’t you seem to remember, as my wife, the reasons why I wouldn’t want a child?” he cried, chest heaving and voice breathy.
“My parents weren’t the greatest role models in my life; they’re apart of the reason why it’s ingrained in my head that having children will just ruin everything in your life! As if sharing everything I have and I own with one person isn’t enough, I’d have to share it with some… other little thing that cries and fusses and fights to get everything they want! All they do is take, take, take…”
Lip trembling, Lauren only stared in silence as Nick now paced the room, back and forth in front of her. He was like a wild animal, a caged lion pacing back and forth, trained on its victim for revenge. There was no good in stopping him or talking over him, his behavior too erratic; so she just let him continue.
“Apparently that’s all they’re good for… taking what you give, taking what’s left, and when that’s not enough, taking all you have, and for what? To fill a dream that they might actually grow and fucking amount to something?! That they might actually want to pay you back one day?” It was in that moment that Lauren realized that her husband was speaking on behalf of his no-good, sad excuse for parents, down talking himself. “Why don’t you let me do us a favor and fucking spare us from the grief!”
Heavy breathing lingered between them; the greatest stare down of fiery eyes into stone cold ones. Nick sauntered over to their window, raking his hand through his hair as he propped his arm against the pane. “What ever made you think I’d even consider becoming a father when I’ve failed my own fucking siblings? One of them is fucking dead!” A maniacal chuckle, then a mutter “And they all agree I pretty much killed her.”
Nick turned sharply to find Lauren staring at him, unshed tears in her eyes. Was that pity?! Oh no no no no no, he will not be having any of that. “So tell me…” he started as he made his way over in four quick strides, standing in front of her. “Why, why, why Lauren… why are you pushing this on me?” bracing his hands against the bed, he leaned forward to peer into her eyes, “Do you want a child?”
Tears finally trickling down, Lauren responded with only four words. “Yes, I do want him.”
Wait. Him?! Did he just hear her right?! What did she mean "him"?! How he wanted to ask if he heard her right, what she meant by that, if she could repeat her words, but those four words rung clearly in his mind. Correction, just one word rung clear in his mind. Him.
Nick finally pushed away from the bed and stumbled backwards with the realization of it. Even after all he said, none of it would really matter now, would it? For what must have been months, Lauren had a him growing inside of her; and it was the perfect time to drop this bombshell on him, right? It was the main focus of what this episode was scripted to be; it’s what the show producers would want, what would gain more viewers.
The more he thought about it, the angrier he got; what was Lauren’s aim with this, what was her end game? How long was she going to keep this from him? So many questions, he didn’t know where to start. The tense silence was agonizingly drawn out, until Nick did the only thing his numb mind would allow him to do; he started to laugh.
“So that’s it?” he gestured his hands between him and her, “All of this and for what, only for what I’ve said and how I feel to not mean shit?! How long were you gonna keep this from me? Was this another way for you to drain me?!”
Lauren recoiled as if she had just been struck, “Another way?” she choked out, “How’s about this for another way?” she asked as she ripped her wedding ring off and threw it at him, not caring that it bounced off his chin and ricocheted to god knows where. She rose from the bed and stomped over to their dresser, ripping it open and rummaging through the contents.
The glinting of the ring on the bedroom floor caught Nick’s attention, causing him to shake himself out of his current, yet baffling stupor. Why is this on the ground? He wondered internally as he bent down to pick it up, looking up at his wife who was digging through the dresser, removing mounds of folded clothes. She must be looking for it, thinking she may have lost it in the dresser or something...
“Hey…” he called out softly, creeping up behind her and reaching out to put his hand on her shoulder, in hopes to turn her around and surprise her with the found ring by placing it back on her finger. Flailing hands immediately batted him away, the move so sudden he didn’t even realize she had turned so quickly to slap him away from her.
“Don’t fucking touch me Nickolas!” she sobbed, her hands balling into fists as she began to beat it into his chest to push him away from her. “Don’t. Fucking. Touch. Me!!”
Being that his wife actually worked out, and the fact that she caught him completely off guard with her actions, the pounding to his chest actually hurt. He desperately tried to catch her flying fists, but he noticed the more he tried to restrain her, the more aggressive she got. “Hey, hey, hey, calm down…” he tried to reason in a soothing voice, which only enraged her more.
“How dare you!” she screamed out, her free-flowing tears betraying her otherwise strong and assured voice, “How fucking dare you Nick! Don’t do this to me again… stop pretending to forget how you’ve hurt me!”
Again?! Nick immediately let her go, his hands flying up as if in surrender, his eyes wide like a deer caught in headlights. What did I do?! his mind raced to understand and piece everything together How did I hurt her?! I would NEVER put my hands on her…
Through the tears, Lauren stared at his bewildered expression, her anger transforming into a form of disgust. That’s been their life as of lately… they would fight, he would come back with no memory or recollection of what happened or what they were even arguing about, yet still apologize, and she would take him back. Well, not this time. After how he degraded her, his own wife, and his clear express of wanting nothing to do with his unborn son, there was just no coming back from that.
And that’s when it clicked. Oh god, oh god, it’s happened again! Hands still in the air, the ring fell from his grasp; he stumbled back as if being shoved at again, hyperventilating for air that seemed to have been sucked right out of the room. “Lauren, I…” What could he possibly say? Does he take this moment to try and explain to her all that he’s been going through and suffering as of late? Would she even understand, would she think he’s crazy? The question moreso being, would she even listen to him?
Panting heavily, Lauren raked her shaky hands through her tangled tresses, trying to calm her erratic heart. “You need help.”
Nick watched in silence as she walked into their closet, rolling out a suitcase and tossing it on the bed. “I have... nothing left in me Nick, to keep going through this with you.” She didn’t even bother folding her articles of clothing up to neatly place it in the suitcase, which the sight pained Nick even further, knowing she wanted nothing more than to be gone. Please don’t go couldn’t even be uttered from his lips.
“It’s been an endless cycle as of late, but…” throwing in the last of her clothes, she looked up at him, traces of tears completely gone “you will not continue to belittle me like this.”
Where will you go? “Where are you going?” God, he sounded pathetic. There were no options in his question, no consideration, refusal of realization.
“Don’t.” she whispered, eyes falling shut to prevent that lone tear from trickling down. “I’m going home.”
“This is your home.” he begged softly, “I’ll…”
“This was supposed to be our home… a home that I could come to, that I could hide in, that could… that could be my sanctuary that I felt safe in. But I don’t feel safe Nick, not while…”
You’re here. “I’ll leave.” he choked out, firm, cutting her words out. And with that, he walked out of the room; he couldn’t chance staying a second longer.
Everything was thrown into slow motion from that moment on. Shame clouded him as he entered the kitchen again; his sister-in-law, friends, set crew and producers all in the same position they had left them in. Eyes trailed and bore into him as he looked right back, reaching for an apology he could not bring himself to utter. Silence ensued as he grabbed his wallet off the counter and tucked it into his back pocket; as far as he was concerned, they all weren’t safe as long as he was there, and he didn’t question the sick satisfying thought of their potential fear of him.