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Nick groaned when he felt the bed move.  He opened his eyes and was surprised to see Roxie climbing into bed.

“Sorry Nick, I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“Don’t yell please.”

“I’m not yelling.”  She became quiet as she leaned into her pillows.  “I’m so sick of this nausea.  I can’t wait for it to go away.”

“You’re still throwing up?”

“Yeah, but it’s no big deal.  It’ll run its course and I’ll be fine.”

“This is more than a stomach virus.  You’d be better by now if it was.”  Nick said sarcastically and rolled back into his pillows.

“Well, what about you?  You’ve been sick on and off for the past couple weeks too.”  Roxie laid back against her pillows and rolled her eyes at Nick.

“We’re not talking about me.”

“Well, maybe we should.”  Roxie snapped back and turned her head to Nick.

“Not now.  My head is pounding and I’m a bit queasy right now.”  Nick replied with his back still turned to her.

Roxie shook her head.  “And you’re talking about me still being sick.”

“Alright, fine.  I’ll drop it.  I’m going back to sleep.”  He closed his eyes in hopes of getting relief from the hangover that he was suffering from.  It was minutes later when the bed started to move violently, making him feel even sicker.  He opened his eyes to see that Ariel was jumping on the bed.  He reached out, grabbing Ariel and pulling her down onto the bed to keep her from moving.

Ariel giggled.  “Hi Daddy”

“Hi.”  He mumbled, closing his eyes again.

Ariel began shaking Nick's shoulder to get him to wake up.  He felt his nausea mildly intensifying and knew that it'd only be a few minutes before he got sick.  He got off the bed and headed into the bathroom as quickly as possible, leaving Ariel in his bed.

Ariel looked after her father confused, and then she looked up at Roxie with the same look.  “I only wanted him to wake up and he ran away from me.”

“Don’t worry about it hon.  Daddy isn’t feeling good this morning.”  Roxie said and pulled Ariel down into her lap.

“Oh.”  Ariel paused.  “Do you think Daddy will watch a movie with us?”

“Maybe.  We’ll have to ask him.”

“Can you ask him?”  Ariel asked and looked up at Roxie.

“Why don’t you want to ask him?” Roxie asked and tugged lightly on one of Ariel’s pig tails.

“Because he’ll probably yell at me.”

He emerged from the bathroom minutes later.  Once he reached the bed, he lied down once more to make himself comfortable.

Roxie nudged Ariel and whispered in her ear, “Ask him.”

“Daddy?”  Ariel said in a small voice.

“What?”

“Will you watch a movie with me and Roxie?”

Nick groaned to himself.  He didn’t want to go downstairs, and he was completely sick of Ariel’s choice of movie.  He wanted to say no, but Ariel’s words from the night before were still echoing in his head.  He opened his eyes and looked at Ariel.  “Can we make a deal?”

“What kind of deal?”

“We watch the movie in here and if I happen to fall asleep, please don’t wake me up.”

Ariel scrunched up her little nose in thought.  “Only if I can lie with you.”

“Okay.”

“And you have to hold me.”  Nick nodded at her request and stood up.  “Where are you going?”

“Someone has to get the movie and put it on.” 

“I’ll get it.”  Ariel said then scrambled off the bed and out of the room.  She returned with The Little Mermaid and handed it to Nick. 

He put the movie on and climbed back into bed.  He held his arms open, allowing Ariel to crawl into them.  He pulled her closer to him.  When Ariel was comfortable, he kissed the top of her head.  Roxie smiled and for the first time, hoped that this meant that things were going back to normal.

Nick looked at Roxie when she stood up and started walking to the door.  “You’re not staying?”  Roxie suggested and left the room.

“I think the two of you need to spend some time together.” 

Nick nodded.  He made sure Ariel was completely engrossed in the movie before he closed his eyes and attempted to fall asleep.

The movie ended and Ariel turned around to see that Nick was fast asleep.  She began to shake him until he woke up.

He warily opened his eyes to look at Ariel “I thought we had a deal.”

"The deal was during the movie I couldn't wake you up. You didn’t say anything about when the movie was over."

 “Okay.  I’m up.”  He said then closed his eyes again.

“Silly Daddy.  If you’re up then why are you going back to sleep?”  Nick used his remaining energy to get out of bed.  He was still feeling crappy, but at least the room stopped spinning.  Ariel stood up.  “Let’s go see what’s for lunch.”

Nick groaned at the mere mention of food and he felt like he was going to vomit again.  When the feeling didn't go away, he knew for sure he was going to be sick again.  "I'll meet you down there."  He waited for Ariel to leave the room before darting to the bathroom and throwing up.

He walked into the kitchen where Ariel was already eating.  Nick sat heavily in the chair he normally sat in.  “What would you like to eat Nick?”

“Ugh, no food.”  He said with a groan.

“Nick, you need to eat something.”

“I don’t see you eating, and you were sick this morning too.”

“I can’t eat.  I’ll just throw it back up.”

“So what makes you think I’ll be able to keep it down?  The The idea of food made me sick.”  The smell of Ariel’s food was making him queasy again.  “I’ll be in the living room.”  He said and stood up and leaving the kitchen.

After lunch, Roxie and Ariel joined Nick in the living room.  Since, Nick was stretched out on the couch, the only place left for Roxie was the recliner opposite the couch.  He watched as sat down and gently began rubbing circles on her stomach.  He watched her for a few minutes.  “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine Nick.”

“Are you sure?  You look a little green.”

Roxie was about to answer when the need to vomit overwhelmed her.  She stood up and quickly made her way out of the room and to the bathroom.

Nick stood up when she returned.  “I called the neighbor.  She’s going to watch Ariel.”

“Why can’t we watch her?”

“Because I’m taking you to the ER.  Now let’s go.”  Nick said and started to grab Roxie by the arm.

“The ER.  I don’t need an ER.”  She pulled away and looked at Nick like he was crazy.

“Too bad, you’re going.”  Nick said with a stronger tone and pulled her to her feet, guiding her to the door.

“Well, if I’m going to get examined, so are you.  You’ve been sick just as long.”

“Maybe, but you’ve been sick consistently for the past three weeks.  I’ve been sick on and off.”

“Nick, I swear.  I don’t need an ER.”  Roxie tried to plead with him as he handed her her purse.

“Maybe not, but I need to know that you’re okay, and that you’re not contagious.  You don’t want to get Ariel sick do you?” Nick said using the only form of manipulation he could think of that would convince Roxie to go t the hospital.

Roxie sighed.  She knew that she couldn’t get Ariel sick, that she had no more energy to argue with Nick, so she agreed.  They dropped Ariel off at the elderly lady next door and left for the hospital.

 

~*~

 

“I hate hospitals.”  Roxie complained as she sat with Nick in the waiting room of the ER.

Nick chuckled.  “Nobody likes hospitals.  I’ve never been to a hospital when something good was happening.  The last time I was at a hospital was when Ariel broke her arm and the time before that was one of the times when I overdosed.”

Roxie looked at him.  “You overdosed?”

“Yeah, a few times.”

They fell silent.  Roxie was thinking about what Nick said about never being at a hospital for a good reason.  “What about when Ariel was born?”

“What?”

“You said that you were never at a hospital for a good reason.  What about when Ariel was born?”

“Ariel wasn’t born in a hospital.”

“She wasn’t?”

“No.  Ariel would’ve been taken away from us and Tracy and I would’ve been arrested.  We were into some really heavy shit back then.  Ariel was born with Tracy lying naked from the waist down on our bed.  I was supposed to be at Tracy’s side to help her and one of our friends, who was as strung out as we were, was going to deliver her.  But in my irrational state, I felt that he was going to try something sexual on my girl, so we got into a fist fight while Tracy was screaming in pain.  He left and I delivered Ariel.  We cut her umbilical cord with a pair of rusty scissors.”

Roxie cringed slightly.  “The more I hear about your past, the more I’m glad I didn’t know you back then.”

“I don’t blame you.”  They fell into silence as they both got lost in their thoughts.

It wasn’t long before Roxie was being called by a nurse to follow her to the examination room.  They wouldn’t let Nick go with her; so once again, he was sitting in the waiting room, waiting to hear from someone who could tell him what was wrong with Roxie.

After what seemed like forever, a doctor entered the waiting room and approached Nick.  "What is your relationship to Ms. Martin?"

“I’m her boyfriend.”

“Well, in that case, follow me.”

“What’s wrong with Roxie?”

“I’m going to tell both of you together.”  The doctor stated and looked down at his chart, flipping the top page over the manila folder he was carrying.

“Is it bad?”

The doctor remained quiet as he lead Nick to the exam room that Roxie was in.  He began explaining to the couple the tests that they ran on Roxie.  Finally, he ended with.  “Congratulations Ms. Martin.  You’re pregnant.”
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