Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Sat Feb 20, 2010 5:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Me again! :roll: I'm starting a new drabble, but it's been a while since I wrote one, and my writing was struggling to begin with, so please do excuse me if this beginning is rather lacking. I'm hoping that I'll pick it all up again as I start to get into the drabble! As usual, if anybody would rather that I stopped writing, please just let me know and I will be happy to do so straight away! It's not my intention at all to upset anyone, this is just what my pesky plot bunnies have been whispering. I should probably also say that this is a sequel to 'Behind Her Writing' and has had some characters barge in from other drabbles too. PM me if you want to know more about them! Anyway, I think that that's all the boring bits, so on with the story...

ETA: This deals with extremely sensitive subject matter relating to pregnancy and miscarriages. Please do not read if this may upset or distress you.

- X -

It would be fair to say that most of the people sat around the table were having a good time, though there had already been three arguments and two disagreements about rooms, bathroom arrangements and what they should have for dinner. These had been forgotten quickly in the general excitement which pervaded, however, for it was the first time that Joey and Jack had been able to make time to come to England in many years, and they had decided on a family holiday to celebrate it.

At the head of the table was Jack, dishing out cuts of meat while instructing Charles on his left not to take all of the roast potatoes. On his other side was Stephen, who had managed to book the week off of work to join them and was conversing heartily with Albert, sat next to him. The two men made a fine contrast, Albert with his neatly ordered black hair and pale skin, while Stephen was neatly bronzed, his fair hair ruffled just enough and his grey eyes sparkling with interest. Silently, Con watched them, mechanically removing vegetables as the platters passed her by, without really focusing on what she was taking.

Leaning across her daughter, who she assumed was simply off in a daydream again and wouldn't want to be disturbed while she worked out some particularly knotted plot point, Joey said confidentially to Charlie,

“Charles is looking much better than last time. You must have done something right.”

“Oh, he was just working too hard,” laughed Charlie. She and Joey hadn't always agreed on things, and one of the arguments that afternoon had been about whether it would be proper for her to share a bedroom with Charles, which she insisted it would as there were two separate beds. In the end, though, Jack had put his foot down, and Stephen and Charles were sharing the room while Charlie had a bedroom to herself, which had annoyed her greatly. She had forgiven them, after Charles had a quiet word, however, and was prepared to be as nice as anyone now. “As soon as I convinced him to calm down a little, because the country wouldn't grind to a halt without him doing paperwork, he relaxed.”

Jovial conversation ebbed and flowed around the table throughout the meal. Soon, Jack and Albert were discussing the latest advances in medicine, while Charles broke off from whispering sweet nothings in his partner's ear to try and include Stephen in the conversation, and Joey watched on proudly, occasionally contributing her own remark. Now that nearly all of her older children had moved back to England, she felt increasingly lonely on the Platz, the girls away at school most of the time and even Geoff now away at boarding school. At first it had been nice to have time to herself, but that time was looking more and more like loneliness as the days wore on.

It had been Jack's suggestion that they have a holiday to see the family. He said that as it was term time none of the other key doctors wanted time off, and he could be spared for two weeks to take her away. Somehow he had managed to organise one weekend where they would all be together, though Charles and Charlie would have to leave on the Sunday evening, to be back in time for Charles to go to work on Monday, and Con and Albert had said the same. Stephen was to stay with them the whole week that they were there, however, enjoying the hardy sea air. They'd even been invited to the Quadrant to see Dick and some of his family, again.

Only Albert seemed to notice how distant Con was, though he could guess the reason easily enough, and every so often he would brush his knee against hers, or wait until she was reaching for the gravy jug to do exactly the same, so that their fingers brushed each other. She would jolt suddenly out of her reverie, and smile at him, but she was soon lost to her own contemplations again, so that even Joey's friendly remarks couldn't draw her out of her shell. Not that Joey minded in the slightest, quite content to dabble in the conversations and watch proudly on.

“How are Len and Reg, and the baby?” asked Stephen at last, turning to her with an open invitation for all the family gossip.

“Well, George is hardly a baby anymore,” she laughed, her whole face lighting up as she thought about her children. “They're all doing really well. I know that Len, especially, is happy – she gets to see all the mistresses at the school so often, and she's been promised a job there as soon as George is old enough to be left with me for the day. Then the younger girls are forever popping over, with problems that they can't bring to their mama.”

“I'm pleased to hear that everyone is well,” smiled Charlie politely.

“Oh, absolutely,” agreed Joey, and then, with some idea of drawing Con into it all, she added lightly, “You'll have to give us a grandchild soon, so that we've got two little people to spoil.”

Even as Albert sensed the danger and shot a warning look at Con, trying to muster words up to cover the moment, Joey's second eldest daughter turned on her, her whole face contorted for a moment. It was almost terrifying to see her, and before the party had even had a chance to react, she suddenly started to speak in a low, furious voice.

“I know,” she hissed through clenched teeth. “I know that I'm the failure, the one who can't make you proud. I don't have a career, like the boys, or a vocation like Margot. I can't even give you grandchildren like Len. What use am I? None, none at all, just the failure to show how wonderful your other children are. You don't need to make it so obvious.”

On the last words her voice broke, and she fumbled for her handkerchief as the tears came, threatening to overwhelm her. Even as Joey, shocked, started to react, Con was up and running from the room, Albert following her as quickly as possible while he threw apologies over his shoulder. For a few seconds they all just sat, looking at each other, wondering what on earth could have caused such a reaction. Then Jack stood up, waving at Joey as she started to do the same.

“I'll go,” he sighed, escaping the room and letting the sound of desperate sobs guide him to the two other people. The rest sat, frozen, at the table, none of them knowing quite what to say.

Author:  Lesley [ Sat Feb 20, 2010 5:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

That's Joey - opens mouth just to change feet! :roll: With her suppoosed empathy for all couldn't she realise that Con was going to need careful handling?

Thanks ChubbyMonkey

Author:  JB [ Sat Feb 20, 2010 5:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

“Oh, absolutely,” agreed Joey, and then, with some idea of drawing Con into it all, she added lightly, “You'll have to give us a grandchild soon, so that we've got two little people to spoil.”

Ouch. I gasped out loud at the tactlessness of this remark, prompting a question as to what i was doing that made me remember that isn't actually real. In other words, Ariel, i'm really pleased to see another of your drabbles and am already completely caught up in it.

Author:  Alison H [ Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

I've always found Joey's constant harping on about babies, and even marriage, very tactless and upsetting - and now she's upset one of her own children.

Lovely to see both Albert and Charlie again :D .

Author:  Abi [ Sat Feb 20, 2010 10:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

Yay - glad to see Con and Albert have made it back. :D Though this does not look like a promising situation...

Author:  cal562301 [ Sat Feb 20, 2010 11:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

Have not read the earlier part, but this looks interesting.

Why is Joey so tactless? She reminds me of a colleague, whom everyone seeks out for advice, and she freely gives it. But when you delve a little deeper, she has no real understanding of what makes other people tick at all.

Like Joey, and annoyingly to those few of us who see the reality beneath the veneer, most people think my colleague is absolutely wonderful.

Author:  jmc [ Sun Feb 21, 2010 9:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

Thanks Ariel. Definitely interested in reading more of this. People are always saying Con has no tact but Joey's worse.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

Thankyou everyone! I'm pleased that Albert seems to be getting a good reception - he was always a little shy :wink:

- X -

Standing in the hallway, Jack peered through the door to the tiny sitting room the house had been endowed with before he went in. He didn't want to intrude on a private moment, but it still hurt that he had to stay outside and watch another man comforting his baby girl. Still, he was wise enough to wait and only clear his throat once he couldn't stand it anymore, the urge to wrap her up in his arms became too great.

In unison the two people looked up, then Albert smiled at him to come in, though Con only lowered her head again to dab at her eyes. Whatever was wrong, his heart weighed heavy at his wife having put someone's back up once more – she'd managed to upset one of the new mistresses at the school with Bruno – though he tried to remind himself that she'd meant no harm. At the moment it seemed like he was always having to come along and sort things out behind her, though.

With a sigh for the days when she'd been young, and people had excused her tactlessness as 'just Joey', he sat down and reached out for Con's hand, though when he tugged gently she pulled away, burying herself back in Albert. He'd never had to confront before that his children were being taken away from him, for apart from Len they were hundreds of miles away and he didn't have to see them growing up even further on a daily basis, but at this obvious rejection he heaved a heartfelt sigh.

“I'm sorry about your mother,” he tried at last, wondering what could have provoked such a violent reaction from Con, who was usually the most placid and understanding of the triplets. After all, she knew what her mother was like, knew that she didn't mean it really, it was just her way. “You know how she is, she never thinks before she speaks. We are proud of you – so very proud. You have your career as an author, and you're a beautiful young woman with the whole world at your feet. How could we not be proud of that?”

“Because -” she stopped, as a sob caught at the back of her throat, trying to control herself and not give her father any more reason to be ashamed of her. “Because I'll never be able to give you grandchildren even though -”

“Nonsense,” said Albert sharply, cutting over her. Shaking his head, he turned to Jack, face haggard and suddenly much older than his years. “Perhaps it would be best if we told you.”

Pausing for a moment so that Con could voice any objections, he let it all tumble out. How she'd been pregnant a little while ago, how excited they'd become, and how heartbroken they were when she lost the baby. It had happened three times now, he said, in a controlled voice, not meeting Jack's eye. Each time they thought that it would be different, but each time just as their hopes were starting to build Con inexplicably lost the baby. Nothing they tried could make it better, and though they seemed to have no problems conceiving, each time the baby died after a few short months and left them without hope once again.

“We have been trying,” he said at last. “Believe me, there is nothing we want more than a baby, both of us. We crave one. But Con's wrong,” he added, with a herculean effort at steadying his voice. “One day, one day soon, we will have a baby, and then everything will be right again. It's just – just taking a little time at the moment, that's all. I'm talking to people, specialists, and they're going to help us. And we've vowed to keep on trying, no matter how many times it happens, or if it never happens again, which we hope so much.”

“I'm so sorry,” said Jack helplessly. He had gone numb, his mind temporarily suspended as he did his best to try and understand all that had been said to him. Now he saw why Con had been so angry, what Joey had said that was so wrong. Of course he would have to tell his wife, to make sure she didn't say anything else like that, but he didn't know what else he could do. Like Albert, he was powerless. “If we'd known, we -”

Silently, Con nodded, brushing off his useless platitudes in a single shrug. That would be the last thing on her mind right now, after all it was only a reminder, like a thousand other little things during the day. He tried to guess at how she must feel, but it was impossible, and in the end all that he could do was motion for Albert to let her go, so that he really could hug her this time. It was a relief for the other doctor, as well, for he had been feeling choked, and it gave him a few minutes to go to the window and turn his back on them so that he could regain his composure.

Meanwhile, Con snuggled against her father, breathing in the old, familiar smell and wishing herself back to her childhood, when everything had been simple and just by asking she could ensure that her parents fixed anything. So far, she and Albert had told nobody but the specialist, they had agreed on that, and it was such a relief for it to be spoken at last, to hear the words and know that now they wouldn't have to hurt alone, but that somebody else would understand. There was something else that she had to say, though, something else that Jack had to know. Mustering her courage, and with a glance at the still back by the window, she whispered,

“I'm sorry that I ruined dinner, I know how special this was for you. I didn't mean to.”

“It's fine -”

“No, dad, listen,” she pleaded, feeling fresh tears sweep over her even as she tried to blink them back. “It wasn't mama's fault, it's just that – dad, I'm pregnant again.”

Author:  cestina [ Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

Oh I didn't see that coming! This is so moving Ariel. I do feel for Con, and for Jack - this is what my son and his partner went through three times before finally succeeding with their second child. The tensions that build up are almost indescribable and you are doing it beautifully. As a parent one can only stand by helplessly and try to provide support whilst one's heart is breaking for them.

Author:  Lesley [ Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle


Have just been watching a show on Discovery channel about how Queen Anne was pregnant 17 times but only one came to term and he died of smallpox age 11 - she must have been devasted too - there is a theory as to what Queen Anne's problem was - wonder if it's the same as Con?

Thanks ChubbyMonkey

Author:  Abi [ Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

Oh, poor Con. No wonder she reacted so strongly to what Joey said, especially knowing that the same thing could happen again soon. :cry:

Thanks Ariel.

Author:  cal562301 [ Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

(((((((((((Con and Albert)))))))))))))))

I really hope everything works out OK this time.

Thanks Ariel. This is so moving.

Author:  Alison H [ Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

It's thought that Queen Anne's problem was something to do with "sticky blood": I'm not quite clear on the ins and outs of it - I'm a historian, not a medic! - but it was one of these problems to do with incompatible blood types. The Duke of Gloucester, the child who lived to be 11, was born with hydrocephalus so was never in good health. Poor Anne :( . I always get so upset thinking about Queen Anne, and Catherine of Aragon and all those other royal women who suffered a whole series of miscarriages and neo-natal deaths and were then just regarded as failures for not producing the required heir :cry: . Sorry, that's totally beside the point! Hope Con is able to carry this baby to term successfully.

Author:  Lesley [ Sun Feb 21, 2010 5:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

Not incompatible blood types - a syndrome where the blood is too sticky and therefore won't go down the placental arteries to the baby. Cure? Aspirin daily.

Author:  stuffs [ Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

I'm impressed - not only good stories but historical and medical insights as well! That's what I like about this site :D

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Mon Feb 22, 2010 11:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

Fortunately, Jack retained enough presence of mind not to make promises that they all knew he couldn't keep, such as that he would make sure the baby survived this time. Instead he said that they could come to him whatever happened, and that he would do his best to help them. Then he carefully elicited enough information from Albert to guess at the situation, while Con sat huddled against him, wide-eyed and attempting to match the medical terms being bandied about to the life inside her.

Once Jack knew more, he asked Con quietly what she wanted to do next. Professing herself rather tired, she asked him to apologise to the rest but excuse her, for she would like nothing more than to go to bed. He agreed instantly, and added that he wouldn't say anything if they didn't want him to, he would simply say that they had talked. But Con shook her head, then glanced at her husband, who warily tried to interpret the look by saying,

“How about if I come up and stay with you until you're asleep, then come down and tell everyone? Not everything, obviously, just that you were pregnant before. I don't suppose that I'll need to say more.”

After a moment's hesitation, Con nodded her agreement. She didn't like keeping things from her family, but she knew that Albert would have been uncomfortable with them all knowing, and that he was making a huge sacrifice just in vouchsafing so much. Reassured that she didn't need to worry about so much, at least, she disappeared upstairs, Albert just behind her, leaving Jack alone in the room. For a few moments he just sat and stared into outer space, musing on all that he'd been told, but then he stood up decisively. Thinking wasn't going to get him anywhere. He might not be able to personally help them, but he knew that somewhere at home he had the number of a very good doctor who could, and, although he was much in demand, he and Jack had been firm friends since medical college and he would always be able to make time for one of Jack's children.

Upstairs, Con had changed speedily into her nightdress, and curled up under the bedding, one hand around her stomach and the other resting lightly against Albert's back. They hugged each other like this for a long time, trying to support each other, until she looked up at him and asked,

“Do you mind everyone knowing?”

“Well, you've rather let the cat out of the bag anyway,” he laughed, though he added more seriously, “I suppose that it had to happen at some point, and at least this way they aren't finding out through a letter. Don't worry about it, I'll make sure they understand that we'd rather not discuss it constantly. You just go to sleep and stop worrying. It's no good for the baby.”

“I'm no good for the baby,” whispered Con, turning over and hunching her shoulders so that he couldn't see her face. Once, he would have been hurt at such a rejection, but he had come to learn that there were times when Con needed him and times when she didn't, and that just as she was usually sensitive to what he wanted, he had to accept that he couldn't always help. Before he left the room, he turned back to see that she had shut her eyes obediently, though a tear was sat accusingly on her cheek.

It was late at night when Con awoke again, having been weary from the journey up that day and the force of her emotions. She didn't even remember Albert coming back to bed, though he usually woke her up, but she could see his pyjamas strewn across the floor – she had been trying to teach him how to be tidy, but it hadn't worked dreadfully well so far – and there was a large form in the bed next to her, snoring rhythmically.

Quietly, she crawled out of bed, feeling the damp staining through her clothes and the slight pains she recognised so well. There had been a time when she would have cried – the first time, she'd had hysterics and been confined to her bed for three days afterwards – but her mind had learnt to be methodical about the situation. She'd only brought one set of nightclothes, and so she borrowed Albert's pyjamas, hunting in her bag for the necessary articles. They'd both hoped that if it had to happen, which they were sure it would, it wouldn't be on their weekend away, but as usual fate had decided not just to destroy her but find some way to make it worse as well.

They were all, but Jack and Joey, having to share a bathroom, and so she had to be careful about how much noise and mess she made. How dearly she would have liked to wake Albert, and she knew that he would have come in a second, but it would only upset him, and it wouldn't change anything. Her baby would still be dying inside her.

Pausing a moment to bend over and clutch at the sink, while a particularly nasty bout of pain blackened her vision, she sent up a brief prayer for the strength to deal with what must come, in the immediate future and once she realised the full extent of what was happening. Then, mechanically, she slid out of her pyjamas, pulling on a skin that had once been Albert's, and which lent her courage. Gradually, she felt the pain lessen enough that she could look around to ensure there was no mess, no trace of what she was suffering.

Just as she was on the verge of leaving, there was a quiet knock on the door. At once her heart stilled, wondering who it could be. If it was Albert it wouldn't matter as much, but she couldn't bear for any of the others to see her like this, when her baby was dying and yet she was being so heartless.

The last words played again through her head, convulsing her in horror. Her baby was dying. Staring at the door as if it would open at any second to reveal her worst nightmares, she grabbed behind her for the edge of the bath, anything to stop her from falling, as her sobs overtook her. Until then she had been acting out of habit, but the routine was broken and suddenly everything washed over her, drowning her in despair. Once again she'd failed, once again she'd -

Before the awful thought could come back, whoever was outside the door knocked again.

Author:  ammonite [ Mon Feb 22, 2010 12:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

Ahh poor Con. I hope that whoever is outside can help.

Author:  PaulineS [ Mon Feb 22, 2010 1:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

Poor Con Hope that Jack can help her and it is someone at the door who an offer support now.

Author:  cal562301 [ Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

(((((((((Con and Albert))))))) Hope Jack can help them both and especially that whoever is outside the door right now will be someone who can understand and support Con.

Thanks Ariel for another incredibly moving and powerful drabble.

Author:  linda [ Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

That was very moving. Poor Con, how terrible it is for her. I hope that whoever is outside the door will be able to help her.

Thank you Ariel.

Author:  Liz K [ Mon Feb 22, 2010 7:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

:cry: Poor Con and Albert, hope Joey keeps quiet.

Author:  Abi [ Tue Feb 23, 2010 1:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

:cry: Poor Con, dealing with that all alone. I do hope whoever it is will help her. Thanks Ariel.

Author:  Lesley [ Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle


Oh poor Con - someone has got to get through to her that this is not her fault. :cry:

Author:  shazwales [ Tue Feb 23, 2010 8:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

Thanks Ariel this is beautifully written.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Tue Feb 23, 2010 3:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

Thankyou for your wonderful comments. I don't know if I'll be around at all tomorrow, but I'm afraid that I certainly won't have time for an update. Sorry!

- X -

Con would have been quite content to whimper on the floor, not wanting any of her family to see her like this, but when the door handle was tried she was recalled to her senses, and the fact that somebody wanted to use the bathroom. Determinedly, she wiped at her eyes, hoping that in the gloom nothing amiss would be noticed and she could slip back to her bedroom without being found out.

Quietly, she slid the lock back, her hand hovering for just a second before she pushed down on the handle and let the door swing open, staring out into the hallway, where one light was burning at the far end. As she peeped out, her nightdress balled in her arms, she was confronted by Charlie, blonde hair tumbling all over the place and wearing nothing more than a large t-shirt which had once belong to Charles.

“Thank goodness,” she hissed. “I thought you might be Stephen, and what he would make of me in this apparel I don't know. Are you upset?” she added suddenly, surveying Con's pale face which seemed to hang spectrally above her dark pyjamas.

“I'm fine,” said Con softly, but Charlie shook her head, taking in the bundle of clothes and the tiny gasp which escaped at that point, as a sharp jab of pain reminded Con of what was happening inside. Gathering her thoughts, she ordered,

“Look, go downstairs and put the kettle on. I'll just get into something warmer and we can have a cup of tea and talk about it.”

Too numbed by this point to care, Con, after a moment's hesitation, did as was suggested, creeping into her room only to put down her macabre reminder before she tiptoed down the creaking stairs. At the bottom of the house all was dark, and as she didn't want to put lights on she had to feel her way to the kettle, and then to the tap, all the while holding her breath in case even the sound of that should wake up someone else.

Just as it began to whistle, and she swung it off of the hook, Charlie appeared, now with her dressing gown on and looking more awake. Silently, she took the cups from Con and made the tea herself, sweetening one of them to try and help Con get over the shock. Then, with a silent and swift prayer for guidance, she led them to the chairs in the other room, one of which she flopped down on while Con perched at the end of the sofa, tense.

“Albert told us,” she said at last, after a long silence had descended and no other words came to mind. “Is that why you're upset? Because you know that Joey was just being – well, Joey. She was furious with herself when she learnt.”

“I was pregnant again,” murmured Con, barely audibly. No expansion was needed for the full story to suddenly unwind for Charlie, and with a tiny gasp of sympathy she put her drink down and came to sit next to her sister-in-law, wrapping an understanding arm around her shoulders.

Nothing more was said between them for a long time. There was nothing, really, that could be said; only Albert knew which words might bring a shred of comfort, and until Con asked for him Charlie couldn't really offer to get him. It would look awkward, as if she didn't want to be there, although it wasn't as if she could claim to know what to say next. Part of her wished that it had been someone else sat there, but whenever the thought came she set it firmly to one side. She was the one who found Con, and she must be the one to deal with it.

Apparently the silence was what was needed, however, for just as she was beginning to fall asleep, her shoulder numb from where Con's head rested against it and her feet cold, a tiny sob shook her out of her reverie and she looked down. No longer was it the scared cries from previously, or the frightening calm; Con was at last starting to cry out of grief, for the lost baby and the hope that had died with it. It was over two months old, and just three days ago she had entertained the hope for a second that this one might live to be healthy. That was why this had happened, it was her fault, she had caused it.

One of them had been so short that Albert had tried to convince her she'd never been pregnant at all, but she knew in her heart that even that was a lost chance, a pregnancy that she got wrong. There seemed to be some magic code that other women knew and she didn't, about how to keep your baby safe right from the start, about how to not kill it. There was something she was missing, and she was tearing herself up inside trying to work out what it was.

After that, she couldn't seem to stop crying, but all that Charlie could do was hold her and murmur softly now and then, like a mother clasping her infant after a nightmare, desperately unhappy for the tiny body curled up against her but with no idea at all of what to say or do. Once an hour had passed, and Con still cried in that eerie way, saying nothing, not even making a noise for most of the time, just trembling, she again debated offering to fetch Albert, but still the words wouldn't come to make it sound like a sensitive offer instead of an escape route.

Then, as the first bird twittered and rosy pink hues started to stain across the sky, salvation came. There was a heavy tread on the stair, and she looked up, as a reassuringly solid figure appeared in the doorway, face creased with concern. As soon as he saw Con it was clear to Albert what had happened and with a deep breath, he motioned Charlie out of the way and pulled his wife into him, stroking the hair back off of her face. He said nothing to her, however, merely turned to Charlie and said,

“Thankyou for staying with her. You'd better go back to bed, now, you'll be worn out for the walk tomorrow if you don't get some sleep.”

Respecting his unasked request to leave them alone, she gathered the two untouched and now cold cups of tea to put them in the kitchen, before backing out of the room. Her last sight was of Albert slowly lifting Con's chin up and kissing her deeply, no words needed for the promise that he would stay beside her and suffer with her until the end of the journey. Tiredness washing over her now that she allowed herself to think about it, Charlie turned away, letting the couple have privacy for their grief.

Author:  Joanne [ Tue Feb 23, 2010 4:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

I've got tears in my eyes now, from reading that :cry: :cry:

Please make it all right for them!

Author:  linda [ Tue Feb 23, 2010 5:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

That was just so sad.

Poor Con, at least Charlie was there for her and was able to hold her close during the long hours of the night. Albert will be her best comfort now, but of course she will still feel that somehow it is her fault. We always do in those circumstances, but at least, unlike Con, it only happened to m twice.

Thank you

Author:  shesings [ Tue Feb 23, 2010 5:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

Oh poor Con, and this brings back so much.................please, Ariel, give Con and Albert a happy ending.

Author:  Lesley [ Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

Poor Con - Albert, keep telling her until she believes it IT IS NOT HER FAULT


Author:  Abi [ Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

Poor Con. :cry: :cry: :cry:

Author:  PaulineS [ Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

Hopefully Albert and Jack can reassure Con and help her.

Author:  keren [ Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

Unfortunately there may be people on the board very very sensitive about situations such as Con's

PLEASE put a warning about the subject matter in the title

Author:  Alison H [ Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

Point noted - *Alison with mod hat on*.

Poor Con - situations like these are part of the reason that Joey's tactless harping on about how everyone should have a large family gets on my nerves so much.

Author:  cal562301 [ Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

Poor Con. I suspect this dilemma is far more common than people suspect, especially if you add in those couples who are trying for a baby and having problems conceiving at all.

Very sensitive handling, Ariel, but I agree a warning should be put at the top of this thread. Even never having had (or now likely to have) children, this has moved me deeply.

I know in the real world it doesn't always work out, but please, please Ariel, let Con and Albert have a baby.

As for Joey, will she ever learn? :banghead: :hammer: Joey think before you open that big mouth of yours!

I will never understand why everyone thinks Joey is the fount of all wisdom in the later books, because this is so typical of her.

Author:  liberty [ Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

This is really good.

I can understand Joey in grandmother mode. My MIL is always hinting (or just saying) that she wants grandchildren. We've been married five years now and its all we've had since the start.

Hope Con and Albert get a happy ending.

Author:  cal562301 [ Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

liberty wrote:
This is really good.

I can understand Joey in grandmother mode. My MIL is always hinting (or just saying) that she wants grandchildren. We've been married five years now and its all we've had since the start.

Hope Con and Albert get a happy ending.

Actually, to be honest my own mum was exactly the same. She never seemed to accept until I was at least 40, that I might be happy as a single person. She was always trying to match-make and dropping hints about more grandchildren (even when she had 5!).

Maybe that's why Joey irritates me so much.

Personally, I would never ask a childless couple, whether related to me or not, what their plans for a family are, as at the end of the day, it's no one's business except theirs, unless they choose to share it with others. And if they are having problems, then it will only make matters a hundred times worse.

Author:  abbeybufo [ Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

keren wrote:
Unfortunately there may be people on the board very very sensitive about situations such as Con's

PLEASE put a warning about the subject matter in the title

But it is in St M - surely that means 'beware' even before you start reading?

Author:  Alison H [ Wed Feb 24, 2010 3:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle

I've asked for a "warning" note to be added to the title - I know that St Mildred's is for "adult" drabbles, but that can cover a wide range of things, some of which can be distressing to people with personal experiences of them.

No criticism intended in any way whatsoever :D , just trying to make sure that no-one reads anything that they would prefer not to.

*Alison with mod hat on*

Author:  clair [ Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

This is beautifully written Ariel. You've captured both Jo's sheer irritatingness (know that's not really a word but it describes it so well!) and Con's despair so well. Also the real love between Con and Albert is so palpable we can feel it

Not so sure the added heading is needed myself - there are lots of areas which are sensitive and we all have our own issues. The fact that it's in here gives us the clue that it may not be easy reading

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Thu Feb 25, 2010 3:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

The first person to wake up was Jack, as was his custom when he had been able to go to bed at a reasonable time with everyone else. Thanks to his job, he was accustomed to napping where he could and otherwise surviving without a lot of sleep, and regular hours were somewhat foreign to him. Thus it was that only an hour after Charlie had gone back to bed he appeared, his careful tread designed to stop from waking anyone in a sleeping household.

When he saw that the light was shining under the door, he came into the room, and a faint look of surprise crossed his face. Then he realised that Con must have been upset by all that had happened the evening before and been unable to sleep, and so he came forwards and sat down in a chair opposite them, watching them steadily. For a long time, they didn't even look up at him, but then Albert blinked as if he had only just realised that there was somebody else in the room and looked his once superior in the eye, dull and unresponsive.

“What's happened?” asked Jack softly.

"The baby," murmured Albert, clearing his throat awkwardly, but it was all that he could say. Delicately, Jack tried to murmur something, but Albert just shook his head. Shortly afterwards, taking the strong hint that they would rather be left alone, he left again. Whatever good he could do, he wasn't achieving it by his presence, and he felt like an intruder in a sacred land.

Gradually the rest of the household began to wake up, footsteps were heard overhead and the clunk of water being forced through the pipes. Merrily, the kettle whistled in the kitchen, and shortly afterwards Jack brought in a tray of teapot, plates of toast, and jam and marmalade. Not expecting it to be eaten, he still laid it down on the table. There weren't words to express what he wanted to, and so he just laid a hand on Con's head, stroking her hair back.

“What time are we leaving for the walk?” she asked suddenly, in a shaky voice. Startled, Jack replied neutrally,

“In about two hours, I should think.”

Just then Joey came downstairs looking for him, and so he went out to warn her of what had happened, while with great difficulty Albert roused himself. How blissful sleep would have seemed then, as a release from all the hurt weighing him down once more, but the way that Con clung to him even as he moved proved that she needed him. Sometimes he relied on her, but when it happened he was always, at first, the strong one. Somehow, he found that keeping Con together gave him the courage not to fall apart, at least until she was ready to hold him and heal just a little of the pain.

“We should go upstairs,” he murmured. “If you want to go with the rest, we'll need to get ready.”

Silently she acquiesced, slipping a hand through his so that he could lead her up the stairs. They made an odd pair together, her in his pyjamas and him in only his dressing gown, bare feet cold on the rustic wood of the floors. Fortunately they managed to make it to their room without meeting anyone, though a second later Charles hurled past to see if Charlie was awake yet. Albert guessed that soon enough they would all know what had happened while they slept peacefully on. He just hoped that they could be natural and not be forever trying to make conversation about nothing; any sort of awkwardness would only make things worse.

Personally, he hated the idea of having to go out for the day, and force himself to be jolly and interested in the sights that they'd see, when all that he really wanted to do was have a few hours alone in his study with the medical journals he buried himself in when he needed a release. It wasn't his choice to make, though, and he could appreciate why Con wanted to go. Of course, she would need him beside her to get through the day, now that her family knew all about it, and as much as he wanted to shirk it he must accompany her; they were going home that evening, and then she would be left alone in the house while he went to work, and have too much time for thought. If she wanted to be spared that for just a little while, he could hardly deny her the opportunity.

Neither looked at the other as they got dressed, locked into themselves. Each would be thinking of the baby in different ways, Con as another sign of her failure but Albert as a medical case, something to be solved. They had learnt not to talk to each other about it, it only led to arguments when they most needed to be united. The tension was heavy in the air between them, and when Joey knocked and came in she was startled by the looks that she received, though she only informed that breakfast would be in ten minutes. Con nodded shortly and swept her hair back to be put up, determined that nothing should ruin the day now.

Once she was ready to go downstairs, she turned to her husband, walking silently into his arms. In a strange way, she was almost used to the pain now, had expected the disappointment since she learnt of her pregnancy. With a tiny sigh she nuzzled against him, linking her fingers through his so that their wedding rings scraped together.

“We'll try again,” she promised in a whisper, as if it was possible to just dismiss the tiny bundle of cells, which had, twenty four short hours ago, been alive inside her, as nothing more than a bad memory.

Author:  PaulineS [ Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks Ariel for your sensitive handling of a difficult topic.

Author:  Lesley [ Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Oh, that final line was so sad. :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:

Thank you.

Author:  Abi [ Thu Feb 25, 2010 11:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Don't know what to say. :cry:

Thanks, Ariel.

Author:  Alison H [ Thu Feb 25, 2010 11:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

:( I think she'd be better seeing a gynaecologist before trying again.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Fri Feb 26, 2010 1:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thankyou for your wonderful comments. My writing is something very important to me, but I always hesitate about showing it to others, so they do mean a lot!

- X -

At long last the day was over, and with a walk along the river behind them, the family sat down for their final meal together. Already Stephen was eagerly outlining all the things that he'd found to do during the rest of the week, while Charlie gently teased Charles about the fact that at one point he'd stopped concentrating on where he was going – he was trying to take up pipe smoking, “to look more distinguished”, but it took all of his concentration just to fill it up, and then he spent the next half an hour coughing in a most undignified manner with his eyes streaming while he smoked doggedly on – and had nearly fallen in the fast flowing stream that passed for a river, the water easily going over his Wellington boot and leaving him with a wet foot for the rest of the tramp. He took it in remarkably good humour, though he did soon start threatening to tell them all about the time somebody seemed determined to flirt with her. Blushing, she decided that discretion was the better part of valour and thereafter the incident wasn't mentioned again.

Meanwhile, Con watched over them all with a smile, occasionally adding some remark of her own to the proposed plans, with a recommendation or a piece of advice about travel times. Only Albert was silent and withdrawn, hunched over his plate so that he wouldn't even have to look at them. He couldn't wait to get home, but Con had asked if they could stay for the meal, and pointed out that they probably wouldn't eat otherwise, and so he'd given in with good grace. But the constant company was starting to irritate him now, when he was tired and relations that day had, one occasion, been strained. A little time where he could be truly alone with his wife would be appreciated.

“Are you sure you'll be able to drive back tonight?” asked Jack suddenly, pouring himself some more gravy. The food, cooked by Charlie, wasn't quite at Anna's standard, but it promised to be better quality than the rest of the week when Joey had appointed herself cook, and the men were stocking up while they could as a consequence.

“Yes,” growled Albert, surprising even himself by the intensity of his reaction. The thought of any more time surrounded by people, even such understanding company as this, made his headache worse than ever. Once again all talk around the table stopped suddenly, but this time it only elicited a blush, and a sudden, weary, “Sorry, I didn't mean to be brusque. I promise that we'll be quite safe to drive, it's only a couple of hours in any case.”

“I think that we're just tired,” murmured Con, laying a hand on her husband's arm. “It will be nice to get back to our own bed.”

Stephen thought it an opportune moment to make a light-hearted remark about his own uncomfortable experience the night before at this stage, and so conversation moved on, though Con and Albert were notably quiet after that. As soon as the dishes had been washed and dried Albert declared it time to leave if they wanted to get home at a reasonable hour and ran upstairs to collect the suitcases and start to load them into the car. Meanwhile, Con said goodbye.

She had an especially fierce hug for Joey, a final token of forgiveness for her thoughtless comments and a reassurance. She also took Charlie into another room for a few minutes as well, while the boys said farewell to their brother in law, with only one hint dropped about taking care of their sister. Finally, Jack led him to one side, on the pretence of helping him to get the last suitcase into the car, and said,

“I've got a contact who can help you. I'll send through the details when I get back, and get in touch with him as well.”

That was all, but it was enough to give Albert a little hope to cling to, and he thanked the older man with something almost approaching a smile on his face. With everything ready, he started to call for Con, who appeared rather flushed almost straight away, amid laughing comments between Charles and Stephen about how emotional women could get – stopped rather promptly by Charlie pointing out that she'd had her suitcase packed and stowed in the boot of their car before dinner ready to leave, but Charles' things were still spread across his floor and they would be travelling through the night at the rate he was going.

Grimacing, he turned to obey the hint and start to collect himself, so that he missed Jack pulling his daughter into a bear hug possibly more fierce than either of them had experienced before, and stepping back with what Stephen declared later must have been tears in his eyes. Then she waved to her husband that she was coming, kissed Joey on the cheek a final time, and fled to the car, sliding in and starting to adjust herself and put on her seatbelt even as Albert revved the engine, all too aware that somebody would remember something they meant to say and delay them another ten minutes if he didn't go straight away.

Standing in the doorway, the entire party waved at them as they drove away, Charles having been called down so that he stood on the stairs just visible behind the rest. Joey leant on Jack, who had thrown his arm protectively around her shoulders, and Stephen and Charlie stood to one side, wind blowing hair and clothes in all directions. Charles must have said something, because the last glimpse Con caught before they turned the corner was of Charlie turning around to hit him.

“Just us, at last,” sighed Albert as they started to drive towards the main road through the nearest village. With an unenthusiastic nod, Con turned to look out of the window, eyes as dull and misty as the glass of the car as it started to rain with a vengeance.

Author:  Chris [ Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

such a sad, sad time for them all, and always the difficulty of knowing how to speak/what to say. I think you deal with it all so sensitively. I do hope they can eventually find answers - not knowing must be the worst thing of all.

Author:  PaulineS [ Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thank Ariel. I hope they have safe journey in the rain.

Author:  Abi [ Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Poor Con and Albert, I can't begin to imagine how terrible something like that must be.

I do feel sorry for Joey - I have a friend who is chronically tactless. She tries so hard and is painfully aware of the effect that she has on people but she just doesn't seem to have the ability to say things well.

Thanks Ariel!

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Sat Feb 27, 2010 1:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

At some point in the journey home they managed to strike up a half-hearted conversation, but the rain was now torrential, and so Albert was having to concentrate on the road, while Con's heart still wasn't in it. Knowing that she didn't have to pretend for her family anymore, she had drawn into herself, always remembering the looks that her parents gave her. There was such pity and tenderness and love, but she could see something else, too, something worse. It was a look of disappointment, as if she had let them down as well.

“How are you feeling?” asked Albert at last, when they were only half an hour from the pretty cottage they had called home since they got married. The rain had eased up slightly, but the journey had taken much longer than expected because he had had to drive so slowly, and now tiredness was really starting to set in, so that even with the lessening conditions he didn't dare to speed up. On receiving no reply he looked across, hopeful that Con might have fallen asleep, but she was still staring sightlessly out of her window.

Making a sudden decision, he drove another ten minutes before taking a turn off that he knew well. It was a minor road which led to a lane, up which one of his patients lived so that he often came at least once a fortnight. After three years of living in the district, he knew the road nearly as well as he knew his own drive, and he knew that nobody else would be there at such a time in the night. Pulling to one side just past a gateway, he ran out of the car and fished the umbrella from the back seat, before opening the passenger door.

As they always kept a large golf umbrella in the car, for Albert in case he got stranded somewhere and had to walk home, it was amply big enough to fit them both under, and when he tugged on Con's arm she got out reluctantly, huddling into him to make sure that she was covered. Slamming the door shut, he led her to the other side of the road and pointed out over the valley. The view was unimpressive given the weather, but they were high enough up to just see some of the low lying cloud creeping across the main road cleaving through the two hills, and beyond them stretched endless undulations, shadowy figures in the mist.

Shivering, Con huddled closer, pulling her cardigan around herself and resting a head on Albert's shoulder, as he wrapped his free arm around her waist. Why he had chosen this spot he couldn't have said, other than that they had had a picnic here once when they had sat together and watched the sun set around them in dying crimsons and golds. That had been before they started talking about having children, when they were young and carefree and happy, and still just finding their place in the community. It was a good memory.

Tonight the dark around them was a complete contrast to the balmy summer air that they had relaxed in once before, and Albert felt no desire to lie on his back in the field with flies humming gently around him and doze, while Con went for a ramble. Instead they stood together, both staring out at the panorama before them, the rain lessening all the time so that the outlines became sharper and they could start to pick out wooded areas on the closer hills.

“It's beautiful,” whispered Con at last, her warm breath tickling his neck from where she leant against him. Her breath wreathed around her head as she spoke.

“Just like you,” he murmured back, grinning when he saw her roll her eyes. Romance had never been something he was excellent at – in fact, he had been renowned when she was at university among her friends for being demonstrative to the point of soppy, without ever being able to make the grand romantic gestures they admired so much in a man – but she had never held it against him. If anything it used to make her laugh, gave her something to tease him about.

Silence descended again, but this time it was a more understanding silence, a mutual agreement that no words were needed. It wasn't often that they got proper time together, for although Albert was supposed to have weekends off, unless they went away for the day he was always being called out to someone, and by the time he got home in the evenings he was so worn out that he could barely make conversation. But Con knew exactly what she was letting herself in for when she married him, after years spent seeing how little time her parents got alone, and whenever he tried to apologise for it she always reassured him that she preferred it that way because it gave her time to write her books.

“We'll come up again in summer,” he said at last, shifting slightly so that the umbrella shook a cloud of water droplets around them. “One warm evening when we can go for a walk through the fields and collect some flowers. It's a beautiful spot up here and I'd like to come more.”

Softly, Con nodded, but when Albert yawned she turned back to the car, her own tiredness rolling in waves over her now that she was in the fresh air. By the time they got home and unpacked everything, it would only be a few hours until Albert would have to get up again, and she didn't want him to be worn out for the whole of the next day.

“I'll drive,” she said suddenly, as he got out his keys. “Then you can nap for the last bit, and when we get back you can go straight upstairs to bed. I don't mind – I won't sleep anyway, so I can bring the suitcases in and then join you.”

Smiling his gratitude, he still insisted that she get in before he did so that she didn't get wet. The storm was passing now, and already in the horizon he could see where the rain had stopped, and was blowing through. In a few more hours the ground would start to dry, and it would be as if the downpour had never happened. Dropping the umbrella back into its place, he ran around and climbed into the passenger seat, leaning over and kissing Con as passionately as he could manage with the steering wheel between them.

Author:  Mona [ Sat Feb 27, 2010 2:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

What a beautiful scene, thank you.

Author:  PaulineS [ Sat Feb 27, 2010 4:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Albert is really caring in this post, so carful of Con.

Author:  Lesley [ Sat Feb 27, 2010 5:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

They are such a lovely couple.


Author:  jmc [ Sun Feb 28, 2010 8:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

I've just caught up on loads of this and it is so sensitively written. My heart goes out for Con. Albert is so lovely in this. I hope the two of them will be able to have a child at some stage.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Sun Feb 28, 2010 3:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

I must apologise for the length of the next couple of posts - a character, who, I'll be quite frank, I expected better of, has decided to land a completely different storyline on me, so sorry that they're so long! :oops: Normal service will hopefully be resumed soon.

- X -

The rose-covered cottage was beautiful, and the pride of Con's heart. Before she and Albert had moved in it had been the home of the elderly doctor and his wife who had previously cared for the district, and they had let it get just a little ramshackle and a little worn down as they neared his retirement. The first year of their marriage had been spent in Con tending the garden back to its full beauty and redecorating the house, so that it was the idyllic retreat Albert loved to come home to now.

Even the white paint on the outside of the house was always gleaming, painted freshly each summer by two or three of the teenage boys from the village while they were home from boarding school for the holidays. They usually also came up twice a week to help Con turn the garden over and start to dig up her vegetables as they ripened; when they were away at school, a grizzled old man known to every as Job would come to help on a Sunday after church, as the his way of thanking Albert for his dedicated and caring service to them all.

Whenever there was a baby being born or old Mrs Peterson had had another fall he would come straight away. Rife had been the speculation when he first moved in, for he had been alone then and had suffered the advances of more than one of the eligible ladies from the two big houses on the top of the two hills that crowned the cluster of houses below. Then it had come out that he was engaged to be married, to a girl currently living in the city, and many gossips had whispered that they would turn out to be a couple wrapped up completely in themselves and doing the job just for the sake of it, it wouldn't be like old times. Albert and Con had proved them wrong, though, rarely going too far away even at weekends, so that Albert could be on hand within a few hours if he was needed, and the villagers showed their gratitude in kind.

At first Con had struggled to find her place in village life. In some ways it was similar to being back at the Chalet School, with the church's charitable sales and fêtes, the veritable rumour mill about everything and everyone, the feeling just occasionally of being trapped in a little world that nobody from outside could penetrate. But it was also different; although she continued to help various good causes, donating time and money, Con found that she had a lot more time to herself to get on with her writing. Her first published book had made very little impact on the market, but the modest sales were enough to convince her publishers to offer her a contract for her next work, that she was supposed to be writing at the moment. Still, she was the local celebrity, and was always being offered talks at lunches for various WI clubs and the like within the county.

The morning after they arrived back, she was to be found sat in the garden, for the day had dawned as clear and balmy as it could be, as if trying to make up for its bad behaviour the night before. To one side of the house, just out of sight of the drive but close enough that she could hear if anyone came to call, Con had set up a small, wrought iron table, just big enough to hold her typewriter and a glass of iced lemonade. The matching chair would have been uncomfortable if she hadn't added the two bulky cushions that Len and Margot had made for her before they all left university, and with a stack of paper by her feet and the sun shining down on her, there was nothing more that she needed to get on with her writing.

For two hours she worked steadily, fingers typing away at the keys and stopping only to sip her drink or fish a hard sweet out of the pocket of the large cardigan she was wearing. It wasn't quite smart enough for company, but it was exceedingly comfortable for she had deliberately knitted it to be three sizes too big, so that she could wrap herself up well in it to keep out the bite in the air. For once her characters were behaving, interacting as they should and not suddenly announcing desires that would run contrary to the entire plot so far.

Just as she was beginning to consider breaking for lunch, she heard a cheery whistle coming up the drive, followed by the sharp rap of the knocker, a brass lion's head that she made sure to keep well polished. With the rose heads and ivy creeping up to the eaves of the house nodding at her cheerfully, she stood up and walked around to the head of the drive, where a line of pansies waved in the gentle breeze. Beside them stood the postman, a sturdy young man who'd been training for the job since he left school at fifteen, and who only recently had been trusted by himself. Officially it was still Alf who delivered all the mail, but it was taking him longer and longer to complete the round, so that some of it had been taken over by the gangly, awkward looking Roger.

“Thankyou,” she smiled, holding out her hand to accept the bundle of letters he proffered. “Won't you come in and have a cup of tea before you carry on?”

“Oh, no thanks,” he grinned in response to her warm smile. He was one of the boys who had used to come and help with her garden, and knowing of his difficult home life in the poorer end of the village she had always made sure he felt he could come up and find odd jobs waiting for him if he needed to get away for a little while. “I've got to get on, ma wants me back after dinner to help plaster a ceiling.”

With a friendly nod he turned and loped away again, whistling to himself once more. Con stood to watch him long enough that he reached the bottom of the leafy drive, before she went inside and started to flick through the post. One envelope was addressed in the familiar hand of the specialist that they were consulting, but she buried it hastily at the back of the rest. A few were bills, and one to Albert caught her attention for a long moment, before she added it to his pile with a shrug. If it was anything interesting, he'd tell her about it later.

The one that really held her interest had a Swiss postal mark, and was written in the spidery hand of her elder triplet, with a scribbled drawing on the back that made her smile. Evidently a certain small boy had got hold of it while his mother wasn't looking. Laying it on the table while she started to make herself a light lunch, she wondered what Len would have to say to her this time. Usually their epistles contained, on one hand, news about the school and the residents of the Platz, to which Con replied with the latest goings on in the village – Len had never visited, though she kept promising that they would as soon as Reg could get the time off, but she still said that she felt as if she knew everyone from Con's vivid descriptions of life – but sometimes there was more exciting news to be passed on, such as the surprise birth of Josette's latest son in the last letter she'd received.

With lunch made, she returned to her table, checking that the grass was dry by kicking her shoes off and running her toes through it lazily, before she moved her typewriter onto the ground and put down her plate, tearing open the envelope eagerly.

Author:  cal562301 [ Sun Feb 28, 2010 5:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Nice interlude of village life. Please come back soon and tell us what was in Len's letter!

Thanks Ariel.

Author:  PaulineS [ Sun Feb 28, 2010 5:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks Ariel. Looking forward to Len's letter as well.

Author:  Lesley [ Sun Feb 28, 2010 5:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Sounds a really friendly village. :)

Author:  Abi [ Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Sounds like a lovely place to live - thanks Ariel!

Author:  jmc [ Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Like the sound of the village. Thanks Ariel, lovely interlude.

Author:  2nd Gen Fan [ Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

So glad Con is living somewhere so nice when things are not going well - at least it means she has somewhere she loves to come back to.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

As requested, the letter! *flourishes* Though I feel that I've been incredibly harsh, here, so please let me know if I have.

- X-

Dear Con,

Sorry for the delay in replying to your last letter – I love your descriptions of the village fête by the way! - it's all been a bit hectic at the moment. Anyway, how are you? I hope that this finds you well, you sounded a little dejected in your last letter. Married life not all that you hoped? At least I had fair warning! But while I was prepared for the sock darning, nobody warned me about the snoring or the trail of breadcrumbs left through the house whenever he's called out suddenly over breakfast.

Anyway, I'm sure that I don't need to bore you with the daily details of married life; I have mama to moan to about that, and as nice as he is I bet that Albert has his faults as well! I do have some good news; in six months time, so at the start of autumn, Reg has managed to get a week's holiday. It will mean only being able to stay one night with you, because I know that Stephen and Chas have also asked us, and even driving through the night it's going to take us two days to get there and back, so we'll only have five days for you all. I've had to promise to visit Auntie Madge as well, and Reg wants to see one of his aunts and introduce her to George.

Nearer the time we'll arrange all of the finer details, but prepare for the invasion, my love! I can tell you now that you'll need it with George. He's hit that stage where anything and everything is to be explored and destructed if possible, and
don't I know it! At the moment we're in the playroom, so he's quite contentedly bashing his wooden train track with a metal car, but I suspect that shortly I shall have to get the art things out to get him to settle down. I don't know what I would do if we weren't on the Platz; mama having him for two mornings a week is about the only thing keeping me sane!

You know, he really is turning into something of a rascal, and I've been meaning to ask your advice on it for some time, but as it doesn't look like we'll be in touch by phone at any point in the near future I'll have to write it down and hope for the best! I'm sure we were never as bad as him, but even though Reg and I agreed that instant obedience was a bit much to ask for at his age, I just don't know what to do with him. Reg can cope with him fine, one look and he'll stop whatever it is he's doing and be an angel for at least half an hour, but then he and his father have come to blows more than once. But I just can't seem to deal with him in the way that Reg does.

The main thing that seems to almost work at the moment is forcing him to sit still for five minutes in the middle of the stairs when he's being hyperactive – but I have to get him there first! I don't mean to say that it's a nasty naughtiness at all; he's too much like his Uncle Mike is the problem. Though he never throws a tantrum unless he's tired, so I suppose that I should be thankful for small mercies! Where our family gets such a strain for curiousness from, though, I shall never know; Geoff is going exactly the same way, by all accounts, and he doesn't even have the threat of discipline in the navy to reign him in a little. There was always that to hold over Mike!

I'm guessing that you'll have got this after visiting mama, but in case not I thought I'd include the latest news from Geoff; he writes to me periodically, but he always tells me that he doesn't have time to write to the rest. Apparently Stephen, with some idea of looking after him as mama and papa aren't in the country, demands a letter once a fortnight, as does mama, and with writing to me once a month he seems to consider that his duty done! So don't feel left out, Phil is the only other one who gets a few scribbled lines, though she will sit down every Saturday and solemnly write him pages.

Anyway, sorry for the distraction. What I meant to say was that, if you haven't heard, Geoff's in trouble at school yet again, and this time he seems to have really done it. When they went back at the start of term, he and his friends seem to have made a pact to smuggle in as much chocolate as they can, and have been eating it under the covers at night while they told stories – incidentally, do you remember that term we got away with it nearly every night, with you telling us bogey tales, and even Matey was never any the wiser? - only they decided to make it an all out midnight feast. They were caught by the House Prefect, who promised to send them to the Head, only one of Geoff's friends cheeked him wholesale, which of course was duly retailed to the authorities.

By all accounts he's in the hot water, and it sounds awful. I have here the letter in question; he says that “I freely confess walking out of there I was weeping like a baby, and I wasn't the only one by a long shot. Only Gummers was dry eyed, but then most things go over him, and Richard III just about managed to hold on to himself, though it took some effort. The rest of us had given in by that point.” The long and short of it is that they've been gated for three months, which Geoff said was the worst blow as it means missing out on the half term fun, which did promise to be fun this time. Only last time he was telling me excitedly of getting to go to the museum, you know how much he loves history.

Aside from that, they were also set two thousand lines apiece, have been told that as they can't be trusted they must be supervised in any free time for the rest of term, their allowance is to be stopped for all but necessities, they're to sleep in the San for a week, their matron was advised to dose castor oil all round in case of ill effects from the feast, and of course there was the interview with the Head. From what I've heard from the other boys, he makes the Abbess at her worst look like a positive pussy cat – even Stephen, who as far as I know was never in the smallest bit of trouble, says that he used to dread being called to the study. He also added a postscript which as far as I can make out reads “Looking forwards to being able to sit down comfortably again.” Oh, and this is all strictly between us, for I know that he didn't mean to include the details of his punishment in his letters home, on point of honour and all of that – he never does.

At first I thought that this seemed rather harsh, but then mama reminded me that this comes on top of last term, which they crowned by serenading the Headmaster from outside his window without realising that he was entertaining important parents inside. All that can be hoped, I suppose, is that this'll larn them enough to try and avoid trouble for a while, at least. But in his end of term report, which mama showed me, it does at least say that it's only the sort of trouble that boys always will get into at that age, and there was no reason he couldn't turn out as well as his brothers – you can imagine how mama glowed at that one!

All of that was just to prepare you for my request, so I hope you don't mind me including it! I know that you're going to call me an old fusspot and remind me that I'm not as responsible for the young ones as I was, but I can't help worrying about him. He's putting a brave face on it, but I reckon that this punishment has hit him hard, and I bet that Felix has been down on him as well since it happened. As you well know, there's only so much of
that a young boy can take, and I'd say he's reaching the end of his temper, and you know what he's like when he does. I still haven't forgotten him locking Claire in the attic until she apologised for sneaking on him!

I'll be blunt, I'm sure you know me well enough by now to understand – if not, then there's no chance for us! I know what a long journey it would be for you, but if you could spare a day to go and visit him, for just a couple of hours, I think that it would really help. I'd ask Stephen, but he'd only lecture as well. I know that I can trust you to be a – a friendly face, if you will, but still talk seriously to him. You always did wield more influence with the small fry than the rest of us put together when you set your mind to it! (Yes, I know, my English is appalling. Hilda was lecturing me on it just the other day) I know that papa is furious and intends to let Geoff know all about it as soon as he gets home for the summer; that's the second letter of apology he's had to write to the headmaster this year, and as he pointed out rather grimly even Mike never achieved that! A bit of gentle guidance and the knowledge that not everyone is against him might make all the difference right now.

I won't belabour the point, because I know you and you'll have decided one way or another by now, besides which George is about to get so bored that he starts flicking paint at the walls. After last time, I'm keen to avoid that, you should have seen Reg! I'd never seen him so angry before, though he's risen to such heights on one other memorable occasion, that I'll tell you all about when we're over.

Better go! Love to everyone, and write back soon!

Your ever loving sister,


Author:  2nd Gen Fan [ Mon Mar 01, 2010 4:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Wibbled a bit near the beginning of the letter when Len was having a moan about George, wondering how Con would feel about that. Great that Len is going to manage a visit though, however short. I'm sure it will help Con to see her sister.
Poor Geoff at school - it all sounds rather a harsh enviroment - hope Con can visit to give him some support.

Author:  PaulineS [ Mon Mar 01, 2010 6:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks Ariel for the update. Geoff seems set to be remembered at school. Hope Con can visit him and help him.

Author:  Abi [ Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Geoff sounds like quite a character. :roll:

Thanks Ariel. :D

Author:  jmc [ Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks Ariel. I was worried about the baby talk at the beginning of the letter but laughed when it came to Geoff. Quite a character.

Author:  Artemis [ Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Doesn't Len KNOW about the difficulties Con is having?

Did I get something wrong here or is she being a tad insensitive?

She just sounds so - smugly wrapped up her own little world to me. OK she's worried about Geoff, but . . .

Author:  Alison H [ Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

People can be amazingly insensitive. I'm sure the last thing Len'd want to do would be to upset Con, but sometimes people just don't think - it's a very realistic letter.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

I don't think that Len knows yet - else Joey would have done and I don't think even she would have said what she did if she had! Hope that clears it up slightly! And yes, I can't wait to get to write Geoff more, he does seem to be a "character" :D

- X -

Con's first reaction was that she had to go, if just to see that Geoff was bearing up, but further reflection started to bring doubt into her mind. Aside from anything else, it would mean a three hour train journey there and back again, and she would have to rely on Albert to take her to the train station at the nearest town. Then there was the question of whether she would be allowed to see Geoff at all, if he was being punished so heavily; and even if she did she would have to invite Felix as well, he would be hurt if he was left out, and so she might not get the chance to speak to Geoff alone anyway.

After nearly half an hour of lying back in her chair, appreciating the sun and the pleasant drone of an early bee making his way around the garden, she decided to wait and speak to her husband to see what he thought it would be best to do. Guiltily gathering up her luncheon dishes – for she had meant to spend the day writing and get to a certain point, which she would never accomplish now unless she had a sudden flash of inspiration – she headed into the house, laying them down in the sink to be washed later and putting the letter on the top of Albert's pile. He had been through the system himself, he would know what it was best to do.

All the same, she reflected as she poured herself another drink from the jug of lemonade in the fridge, how much easier it would be to ring Stephen up and get him to go, with a warning about not nagging. He only lived an hour away, and he had a car so he wouldn't have to rely on trains to get him there. Although they were comfortable enough, on Albert's wages they had only been able to afford one car so far, and except at weekends Con often found that it became hideously complicated to go anywhere. This was typical of Len's worrying as well; even with her own family, her instinct was still to look after her siblings, but Con was less sure that Geoff would appreciate his sister turning up at his school.

With a sigh she went back into the garden and put a new sheet of paper in her typewriter. Worrying would get her nowhere, unless it was worrying about how she was to get two of her characters to meet without it all ending in a fight. Really, they were the most troublesome things in the world, and sometime she wished that they would just leave her alone. Getting them to behave was nearly impossible, and she was tired of them all.

In such a frame of mind she was unlikely to get any writing done, and it was something of a relief when she heard footsteps once again crunching the gravel on the drive, then a knock at the door. Casting the five sheets she had managed in the interlude to the bottom of the steadily growing pile, she stood up and brushed herself off, making sure that her clothes were straight before she went to answer. That was the problem with being a doctor's wife, one always had to look presentable and be ready to be welcoming and gracious.

As she rounded the corner, she gave a mental groan, for standing at her doorway was Mrs Perkins, a shining light of the local WI, who would invariably be looking for something from her. All the same she managed to fix a welcoming smile, and come forwards with good grace. If there was one thing she had learnt from her mother, it was how to deal with unwelcome guests; frequently Joey was to be found shortly after someone left tearing her hair out in the study because she'd lost so much time that she could have been writing.

Consigning the rest of the afternoon to listening politely to village gossip while she sipped tea – which she didn't even like very much, preferring the milky coffee that had been such a staple of her school life – she led Mrs Perkins in, with a longing glance at her novelette. Whatever she might think of the characters, at least they had the decency to know when they were annoying her and leave her alone.

By the time she got rid of her guest it was only half an hour until Albert was due home, assuming that his surgery had finished on time, and so she only went back out into the garden to retrieve her things. Typewriter and manuscript were left in the study on what was known as her desk, a small table nestled into one corner and usually overflowing with spare paperwork; whenever Albert wasn't at home, she would use the big mahogany desk that he had procured from somewhere, but for the rest of the time she was consigned to the corner while he let sheets filled with his untidy scrawl gradually creep across the room.

Recognising one as the attempts at a speech he was supposed to be delivering to a consortium of doctors next month, she smiled and picked it up, skimming the notes through. Evidently she was going to end up writing it for him, but at least he'd made the effort; he could have hired her as his speech writer, though, given how often she ended up drafting them for him, and with a mental note to check with him what he wanted it to cover she started to organise the piles of paper into something more orderly. This task occupied her until she heard the sounds of a car pulling up outside, a sudden silence followed by the slamming of a door. Dropping the current bundle of papers she was holding, she strode out to the front door, throwing herself into Albert's arms as soon as he'd dropped his briefcase.

Author:  Mona [ Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks for the update!

Author:  PaulineS [ Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks Ariel.

Author:  Abi [ Wed Mar 03, 2010 12:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Lovely glimpse into Con's life. Love that she learnt dealing with unwanted visitors from Joey!

Thanks Ariel. :)

Author:  Lesley [ Wed Mar 03, 2010 7:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Len's letter was a little insensitive - though if she doesn't know of Con's difficulties it's only to be expected. Geoff's school sounds a bit harsh - the boys were not doing anything really bad.


Author:  clair [ Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Len's letter may be a little insensitive but it's also clear that she needed to let it all out and seems to be worrying that she's not a good mother and is asking for Con's help in a way. Am sure she'd be horrified if she knew about the problems Con's going through

Hope they get something sorted over Geoff - poor kid sounds like he's in school a hundred years ago!

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

clair wrote:
Hope they get something sorted over Geoff - poor kid sounds like he's in school a hundred years ago!
Not that it's based entirely on 'Stalky' or anything... Anyway, I'm sorry for not updating yesterday - I really don't think I'll be able to tomorrow, either, I'm sorry!

- X -

The first thing to do whenever he came home was to boil water so that he could have a hot drink and just lie back on the sofa. This had been the first item of furniture that they bought together – they'd started preparing for living together during her third year at university, thanks to Dick's kind offer that they could store any mutually owned items at his house until Albert moved over from Switzerland – and comfort had been the defining feature that they looked for. It was always with a groan of pleasure that Albert kicked his shoes off, where they sat in the middle of the floor and were glared at pointedly by Con until he put them away again, and sank back into the cushions, accepting his cup of tea gratefully once it came.

While he relaxed, Con would start to cook in the adjoining kitchen, their conversation being held through the open door, until he was ready to join her. They nearly always cooked together; she insisted that she didn't mind doing it during the week, at least, when he was so worn out, but unless she was doing something so simple that his input would be a hindrance he always come out, even if just to peel the vegetables, once he'd had half an hour to relax. At the weekends, whoever was awake first would make breakfast in bed for the other, while the person who hadn't cooked breakfast produced dinner instead.

On this occasion Con had planned to make stew, and as they sat down to steaming bowls with crusty bread thickly spread with the rich, creamy butter bought from a local farm, Albert complimented her on what a good cook she was. He was always a lovely husband, attentive and kind, which from what she'd heard of other people was a rare thing indeed. Even her father hadn't, as far as she could remember, ever been as nice to Joey as Albert was to her. Of course, that could all change once they had children, she had witnessed first hand through her friend Sarah what becoming a father sometimes did to a man, but somehow she didn't think that it would. They loved each other too much for that.

Halfway through the meal, once Albert had given a brief resume of his day, skipping the gory details as they were eating, Con raised the problem of Len's letter. She was sensitive enough to gloss over the news of George, just saying that he was well, but she went into great detail over Geoff. Reciting his punishment as far as she could remember it, she also made Albert aware of his behaviour during the past year, which had been the period in which he really started to become mischievous.

“Aside from anything else, it'll be that he's more comfortable at school now,” opinioned the doctor as they were washing up. “When you're younger it can be quite intimidating, but at that age they start to realise that the teachers are only human, but they're still too young to realise what could happen. And then of course there's the growing pains! You know,” he laughed suddenly, “when I was that age I always used to try and find ways to get out of rugby. Not even my biggest fan could call me anything other than slight, and I always ended up bottom of the scrum. How I used to hate it! And no matter how many times Matron just dosed me with some foul concoction and sent me out onto the playing field, I still turned up every week with something else wrong.”

After more discussion, it was decided that Con, at least, should go and visit. Privately, Albert resolved to accompany her so that she could be driven up, and so that he could take Felix out of the way for a few minutes to give her and Geoff the chance to talk, but he didn't say anything at the moment. Con could be fiercely independent when she chose, as he'd learnt through bitter experience when many a well-meaning offer had been turned down. Instead he just hinted that they would see in a little while what his work load was like, it being rather heavy for at least two months, and make the decision as to when she should go then, so that she could write to the headmaster and warn him.

It would have been a lovely evening, if they hadn't both been tired and still trying to recover from the devastating news of the weekend. They had been discussing George, for Albert had asked after him to let Con be the proud aunt as she loved to do, and she in turn had seen no reason to skirt around the issue and told him blandly of Len's problems controlling him. He had just said rather jokingly that she would have a far better idea than him with all of her younger siblings, when he suddenly turned, fumbling for his handkerchief and refusing to look at her.

“I've never had to discipline a small child before,” he managed to choke out, but then the words just wouldn't come. Knowing how much he hated being seen to cry in front of her, Con remained still, until she was sure that he wasn't going to be able to regain his composure. Then she moved to softly cuddle up against him, a silent reassurance that she was there once he was ready to speak again. Together they sat like this, Con feeling guilty that she was always responsible for upsetting him so much and Albert humiliated that he had let himself go so thoroughly, even in front of his wife. Usually he would wait until he was sure that she was asleep and then secrete himself in the study with a glass of whiskey. At last he managed to choke, “Sorry.”

“Don't be silly,” she murmured, leaning up and kissing the tears dampening his cheeks softly. Somehow, her hand found his free one, and she squeezed the ends of his fingers, smiling up despite having started to cry silently herself. “You know that I love you, and this is all my fault, of course you can cry on my shoulder. Goodness knows that I do it to enough.”

“Now who's being silly?” he demanded, leaning forwards so that his forehead leaned against hers, their noses brushing. “Of course none of this is your fault, and even if it was, which it isn't, I'd still love you. I'm just being foolish, that's all. And don't, by the way, think that you can't speak to me about George – I know what you're like, but he's our nephew and I love him dearly. It's just that after – well, it's been a long day.”

“Perhaps we should go to bed,” she murmured hesitantly. “If – if you can forgive me for -”

Silently, he kissed her, moving to run his fingers through her hair. It said as words couldn't that there was nothing to forgive, and that even if there had been it had been long forgotten. It promised that he loved her just as much as she loved him, and that whatever happened they would fight it together. It was all that he could give her, but it was the most precious thing in the world for her at that second.

Author:  cal562301 [ Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

What a lovely scene. Their mutual love just shines through.

Thanks Ariel.

And if finishing your essay means you can't post over the weekend, I forgive you!

Author:  PaulineS [ Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks Ariel, hope you have a good weekend at home and can write more when you are rested and have completed your Uni work.

Author:  lexyjune [ Thu Mar 04, 2010 6:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Just wanted to say thank you, I love your characters.

Author:  Lesley [ Thu Mar 04, 2010 9:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!


He's a lovely man, they are a wonderful couple.


Author:  Abi [ Thu Mar 04, 2010 10:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

They are lovely together. :)

Author:  Mona [ Fri Mar 05, 2010 9:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thank you, that was a beautiful scene.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thankyou for your continued support and comments! Again, I'm sorry for the delay; still no further on on the essay, but I wrote an update on the train back up anyway!

- X -

After that the weeks passed by with a boring regularity. The routine in the house was a steady one, for even when Con was gripped and enthralled by her latest saga, she had learnt through her years at school not to allow it to control her but instead to confine her characters to the appropriate time and place. In most respects, she was all that could be asked of a doctor's wife; presentable, punctual, with a flair of creativity and compassion enough that she was always ready to welcome people into her home, even if it was just so that they could wait to see her husband without having to make an official appointment.

There was one woman in the village who called frequently like this, a Mrs Watson, who always maintained that she couldn't possibly make an appointment with the doctor, because people would talk and then her husband would hear all about it. The hulking giant she had married was well respected throughout most of the village, despite his penchant for drink, and not many people would have guessed what Con knew about the marriage. One day, though, while waiting for Albert to come home so that he could sit and talk to her while Con made dinner, she suddenly confessed all.

“I hope you don't think me improper for always calling like this,” she said nervously, pulling her sleeves down over her hands. “You must forgive me – I assure you that there is no feeling on my part for your husband. I'm always worried that people might talk, you see!” she suddenly laughed, a titter that descended into uncomfortable silence once more, while Con did her best to look encouraging and not wonder what was coming. “I used to be like this with the old doctor, and I wasn't sure when the new one came whether I could be, but I thought I'd be brave and venture up one day. It's my husband, you see. Sometimes he just doesn't know his own strength.”

It was all that needed to be said, as Con assured her when another heavy silence fell, and still she hadn't told anyone about the secret visits up to the doctor's house once her husband was in the pub. There were various other people in the village who had trusted her with secrets once they got to know her, for she was someone to whom it was easy to confide in. With age had come the power to control her imagination, and she paid far more attention now to what went on around her than she had when she was younger; in part, she was sure, it was because Len was no longer there and so when someone had a problem they came to her instead of to her sister.

Once she might have resented the intrusion into her own little fantasy world, but now she was grateful for it. Being the doctor's wife meant being always busy, being such a staple of village life that most of the time she had to pursue her own activities was spent on her career, and she had little time for thought or reflection. Whereas being Con Burford meant being the wife who couldn't give her husband what he wanted more than anything else, and couldn't bring to him the happiness he deserved. In the middle of the night, when she couldn't sleep, she hated that person, and all of Albert's reassurances that it wasn't her fault and that he still loved her fled, leaving her alone with the darkness and the emptiness inside.

Much of the time, hope was difficult to find, and when it did come it was in the smallest of things that for anybody else would have been ordinary and unremarkable. Soon after she wrote a reply to Len's letter, promising to see Geoff as soon as she could get up if one of the others didn't offer to go first, she received one in return to say that Joey had told her eldest daughter of Con's problems, she hoped that Con didn't mind, but that she was awfully sorry for rambling on about George so much. Knowing Len's outsize of consciences, Con made sure to reply straight away that she was pleased she got to hear so much, after all she had to be a proud Auntie for herself and for Margot, as the latter was currently somewhere in Africa and hadn't been in touch for a couple of months, and also thanking Len for her thoughtful gift. It was a tiny pair of gloves from when George had been a baby, which, it was explained, brought all the good luck that she couldn't give in person. At first Con had cried, but after showing them to Albert she put them on the windowsill of what she hoped would one day be a nursery, and would sometimes stick her head around the door just to look at them and smile.

With summer came huge bouquets of flowers that somehow seemed to bring her hope, as well. It was as if, with the reawakening of the world after winter, came a reawakening of herself. There were more shows to attend and long days spent exploring the surrounding countryside with Albert, a hand tucked in his and rucksacks occasionally clanking together as they tried to make it up a hill to his chosen picnic spot. Something else came that summer, as well, something that brought more hope than the rest put together.

As he had promised, Jack duly sent them the contact details of his old friend, and had rung up the man in question. A long telephone conversation had been out of the question with one party in Switzerland, but it had been good to speak to a college friend again and as Dr Lincoln promised to do all he could to fit Con and Albert into his schedule as soon as possible, it had been productive too. A long letter followed it up, and although with their combined workloads communication was certainly infrequent, a small and tentative bridge had started to be built over the long ages that separated them.

Naturally Albert had written to the doctor as soon as he received the details, he and Con deciding that it was best as it gave them more freedom to speak what she called 'medical babble'. But she had looked at the address so many times that when an envelope came, marked with the name of the hospital where the doctor worked, she guessed at once what it must be. Clutching it to her heart with a fervent hope, as if this could change the outcome in any way, she hastily cast the rest of the post to one side and donned a shady hat – for the sun was beating down with a vigour worthy of a better cause – and set out for the surgery, stopping only quickly to organise herself. It was addressed to Albert, so she didn't dare to open it herself, but she knew that it would only be a half hour walk until she found out the contents, and found out whether hope of being a mother was to be granted to her again.

Author:  Mona [ Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Oh, please let the letter bring them some hope!

Author:  PaulineS [ Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

I hope Dr Lincoln can help. Pleased Len was supportive and sent a good luck present.

Loved it that Con is taking on Len's role of receiving confidences from her husband's patients. I am sure Mrs Watson was helped by Con's acceptance and time to sit in a peaceful place.

Author:  Abi [ Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Oh, I do hope there is good news.

Thanks Ariel. :D

Author:  cal562301 [ Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

*Joining in the pleas for good news for Con and Albert*

Thanks Ariel.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

The journey to the doctor's surgery was not a particularly long one when the direct route was taken, but without a car Con usually preferred to walk through the lanes. Sometimes in summer she liked to get up early with Albert, have some time to be lazy in her dressing gown with a cup of tea and her typewriter, then walk out to the surgery with his lunch. Not only did it give them his half hour break together, but it allowed her a break from life, to be alone in a gentle stroll through the countryside with only her thoughts for company.

After numerous such excursions, the longer, winding route through the lanes was familiar to her, and although she most often traversed it in summer she would observe the changes all year round. Each new tree that started to grow proud and tall, each old one felled by lightning or at the hand of the farmer, each bird's nest and each casualty of nature, all were noted by her keen, observant eyes.

Much of the time, as she walked she liked to imagine those who had used the paths before her; Austen heroines dreaming of their heartache, or perhaps arm in arm with a sympathetic brother or uncle, down to Hardy's milkmaids in their pink and white bonnets, gossiping among themselves as they drifted through the idyllic countryside with their milk pails, only their voices, the droning of lazy bees and the occasional lowing of a cow breaking the silence so far from the village.

Along with them were the spectres of Albert's predecessors, Victorian doctors who had nobly ridden through on a thundering horse, to some emergency as an old soul passed away or a new one was born, lightning flashing around them and the rain dampening their drooping whiskers.

None of these imaginary friends meandered through the walk with her today, though; she was alone. There was no gossip on John the farmer and which of the tittering girls he would bed first, no comments on the dress Miss Arabella had worn to the last ball and how scandalous it was that Lady Daphne had been seen liaising with Edward Montgomery.

All she had was a fond memory of such light-hearted times and the letter, burning into her skin. At first she had tried to stuff it into her bag, had even packed Albert a lunch, although it would be too late by the time she got there and he had one anyway, as if this gave her a good reason to be going. But despite this it had continued to prey on her mind, until, in a thorough temper, she took it out again. At least, if she was carrying it, she didn't have to stop every ten minutes to check that she still had it.

What they would all think of his neurotic wife turning up in the middle of the day over a letter she didn't know, but for the present she didn't care. It was addressed to him, but she couldn't wait until he came home to find out what it said and she didn't dare to open it herself, despite knowing that he would have understood.

More than anything else, however, she wanted them to be together when they found out. It was a big, almost a defining, moment on their quest for complete happiness, and she wanted him to hold her and reassure her if it was bad news and celebrate with her if it was good. She wanted to feel his arms around her and his hand brushing hers, an intimacy that was always kept private between them.

More than that, she wanted to know what her future was to be. Logically, she told herself, all she had in her hand was a mess of paper and ink, which, only to the few animals that could decipher it, meant something. It had neither thoughts nor feelings and could tell her only what she chose to read into it. Any significance was given purely by her, but as much as she tried to tell herself that it didn't help.

Not once did she stop in her headlong journey to Albert's side, scared that if she did she must collapse completely. Managing to keep her pace brisk without running, which must have tired her, she reached the surgery as quickly as she had expected.

It was a squat building, huddling in the middle of its surroundings at the edge of the town which had overspilled from the nearest city during the industrial revolution. From it Albert treated not only the inhabitants of the town, but those in surrounding villages as well. While hardly inspiring, he had managed to make it his own, through not only dedication and hard work but a fierce determination to let the patients know that they could always come to him, in times of trouble or sorrow, and he would do his best as a doctor to help them. It made Con so proud of him.

Suddenly, she stopped, and her resolve wavered. If it was bad news, he wouldn't want to find out in the middle of the day, and she would need him, but he couldn't disappoint those who expected him to be regular and put them first. She had known that when she married him, known how independent a doctor's wife had to be. Did this class as an emergency? Was the fact that her future seemed to hand in the balance justification enough for blowing his day apart and causing him trouble at work, one of the worst things she could do? But it wasn't the worst, because the worst thing she could do was fail to give him the baby he deserved.

In the end, it was the thought of the lonely, desperate hours, wandering aimlessly around the house as she tried to resist opening the letter which propelled her in. She couldn't survive for that long without knowing, the torture of seeing the folded paper sat there, taunting her with its knowledge and not telling her what was to happen to her. She had never been able to be passive when it came to fate, who had a difficult time keeping Con on the path she was intended to keep.

Because Jack had recommended him, this surgeon seemed to radiate a special charm, even though she'd never met him. If he was good enough that her father would entrust his precious daughter to the skilled hands – for the most diplomatic person could call him nothing less than overprotective when it came to his children – he was sure to be able to help them have a baby.

He was their last chance, the only person between them and the realisation that they might never have a healthy baby. Of course, there were other surgeons, other specialists who could say and do exactly what he could – but Con had come to attach to him a violent fantasy that he was almost magical. If he refused to see them, said he was too busy or that it sounded like there was nothing he could do, she didn't know if she could carry on believing that it would happen one day.

Heart hammering, she took a deep breath, steeled herself for Albert's reaction, and walked into the tiny building.

Author:  cal562301 [ Tue Mar 09, 2010 5:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Hoping the letter bears positive news and that Albert is as loving and understanding with Con as he always is.

Thanks for the update, Ariel.

Author:  PaulineS [ Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Hope Albert is there and not been called out to a patient.

Author:  Abi [ Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

I can see why she's become almost superstitious about this letter... I just hope it can give her hope.

Thanks Ariel.

Author:  Lesley [ Wed Mar 10, 2010 7:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!


A time when her active imagination is almost a curse. Hope the letter is encouraging.


Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Wed Mar 10, 2010 3:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Sorry to keep you in suspense for so long!

- X -

The first thing that she noticed was how empty the waiting room was. Normally, even when she came up for his lunch break, there would be at least two ladies sat in one corner, knitting as they waited to see him. The trouble, she had often reflected wryly, was that he was too nice. Half the time he would come home with a groan for all the lovely women who made up symptoms just to come and see him and have the pleasure of his company. But today there wasn't anybody, not even the receptionist behind the desk to smile fondly at her, and either wave her on through or tell her that he was with a patient, before engaging her in gossip while she waited.

Guessing that this meant he didn't have a patient, and would be catching up on some paperwork while he could, she slipped through the connecting door, running her thumb along the edge of the envelope nervously. She was still questioning her decision to come, although she knew that she couldn't have done anything differently, wondering if he would be disappointed in her. At the very least he might be cross that she had disturbed him.

Pausing for a moment to compose herself, she raised the letter and looked at it again, eyes scanning it feverishly as if she could read what was written through the covering. Surely it must be positive, she would have felt if it wasn't, would have known as soon as she'd picked it up if it had been bad news. But they had replied awfully quickly, and that couldn't possibly be a good sign. The only way she was going to find out would be to go to Albert, to tell him to open it because even if she wanted to, she didn't now have the courage or the strength. At the last moment she grappled desperately with the blind optimism of everything working out in the end, because it was at least better than the confirmation that she could have no hope at all.

A glance through the square window into Albert's room told her that he didn't have a patient – or at least didn't appear to, given that it was tiny and afforded a limited view. His receptionist was just laying something on the desk, but she would understand to leave them alone, and so, preparing her smile as best she could, Con swung open the door, only to stop in the doorway.

In the seconds that it had taken her to pull her skirt straight and fix on her cheerful face until she could get her husband alone, the receptionist had bent over him, and evidently said something amusing. Stood, Con watched as he glanced up, a smile already on his lips, as if he didn't have a care in the world and the person he was supposed to care most about wasn't crumbling apart inside as she watched him. His eyes fixed on the face leaning just over his shoulder, so bright and attractive, so young and happy. In that moment, the receptionist looked like everything Con could never be; carefree, beautiful, ready just to have fun. Fertile.

The word struck her before she could block it out, the realisation of why she looked on so jealously. Here was her husband laughing with a woman who could give him what he wanted without even having to try. She truly was everything that Con desired to be, those slender hips capable of bearing a perfectly healthy child that wouldn't wither and die inside her. Heart hammering in her ears until it felt as if the whole world was trying to suck her in to a warp where nothing else existed but that look on Albert's face, the amusement playing about his eyes, she tried to remember to breathe, but a bitter ball of resentment was stuck in the bottom of her throat.

Broken, the moment fled as Albert looked up, his smile changing to one of genuine affection as he saw who it was. Reaching out a hand, he beckoned her forwards, shuffling the papers out of sight while the receptionist melted back slightly, clearly uncomfortable and wondering how she should react to the stranger in the midst of their professional day. Clearing his throat slightly, Albert glanced back at her to say,

“Thankyou, Hannah, I think that that will be all. If my next patient arrives, please tell them that I will be as quick as possible.”

The dismissal was a quick one, but well meant, and Hannah hastily left the room, her folders under her arm. Together alone, Con came and stood where the young girl had been seconds before, shaking her head at her own ridiculous fears. She could never doubt how Albert felt when he looked at her like that, she told herself firmly, she was just being irrational because it had been such an emotional day; but the fear lingered still. After all, Hannah would never need to consult someone and disturb him as he worked just to do the most natural thing in the world.

“The letter came,” she forced herself to say after a moment, holding it out in shaking fingers. A brief look of puzzlement changed into a mix of emotions she could trace from her own reactions as Albert realised who it was from. Gently he pulled Con down into his lap, where she rested her head familiarly against his shoulder, nuzzling slightly against the side of his neck.

With all the apprehension of opening a letter bomb, his fingers slid under the flap, easing open the glue and pulling out a folded sheet of paper from within. When he unfolded it, the closely typed letters seemed to become a jumbled mess, and Con had to stare at them for a long moment until they made sense; but when they did she gave a tiny sob and buried her head in Albert's neck, finally releasing the inside turmoil of worry, upset and anger at herself that she'd been battling the entire way to his side.

“Two months,” he said softly, squeezing her slightly as his eyes started to scan the letter from the beginning. “We've got an appointment in two months.”

Author:  cal562301 [ Wed Mar 10, 2010 3:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Gosh, you had me worried there. Surely, nice, loving, sensible SLOC Albert can't be having an affair with his secretary? :shock:

Thanks for the update. Two months isn't long, but it will seem like an eternity for Albert and Con as they wait.

ETA Changed two weeks to two months, as I misread the update. :oops: Have to admit, that would seem like an awfully long time, if I were Albert and Con.

Author:  PaulineS [ Wed Mar 10, 2010 4:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

poor Con. Two months to wait and the fears about the receptionist as well.
i trust Albert, bit I am unsure about the receptionist.

Author:  Abi [ Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Poor Con, having to wait two months is going to seem like an eternity.

I am sure there is nothing going on with the receptionist. Is there, Ariel? Is there? Is there?

Thanks. :D

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Sorry for not posting more frequently - RL hasn't been letting Con in at all at the moment! Plus I'm finding this really hard to write, so continued thankyous for your support, which is wonderful, but also apologies if an update takes a little while.

- X -

It took a full ten minutes of sniffing into the pristine white shirts that Albert reserved for work for Con to calm down enough to be vaguely lucid and coherent again. The shock of the news, and the sudden rush that came with it, was just too much, and for once she thoroughly let herself go. Meanwhile, Albert read the letter, and the instructions which had been included for them. Being far less imaginative than Con, he preferred to focus on the practical details, how long they would need to travel and whether or not he would need to book time off of work.

Soon enough his soothing noises and gentle kisses to her cheek whenever she looked up long enough to do so calmed Con down, and she sat up a little more, gratefully accepting his handkerchief to dab at her red-rimmed eyes. She didn't need to apologise or say anything, Albert would know as much as if he'd been there what she had suffered on the long walk, how every minute her mind turned from one extreme to the other.

“It's good news,” she said weakly, once she was starting to really regain control of herself. Though she had been careful to keep it from her husband, she hadn't been sleeping well recently, and the stress was starting to show; not least because she often awoke to an empty bed, Albert having assumed that she wouldn't know of his own insomnia. Coupled with the stress of trying to write her new book to demand, the date that the publishers wanted a first draft by coming up soon, and the constant, lingering doubt that seemed to be with her wherever she went, she had been close to a bout of crying for several days, and this had been the thing that broke through her defences. “Isn't it?”

“It is,” he promised softly, smoothing the letter down on the desk and turning her slightly so that she was more comfortable in his arms. His next appointment would have arrived by now, it had only been a half hour break, and as much as he wanted to keep Con with him, he really needed to act professionally at the same time. Quickly scanning his mental schedule, he added, “You look worn out. I need to see the next person with an appointment, but hopefully it will only be ten minutes. I'm not letting you go home by yourself, so you can just go to the staff room and sit and wait. It's only an hour until I finish, and I was going to do some paperwork, but I can easily do it from home.”

With this promise he kissed her again, helping her to stand up and then pulling her hand, so that she was bending over him, before whispering into her ear something that made her blush terribly. With an effort she grinned, holding out her hand for the letter so that she could read it while she was alone; in her mad dash out of the house, she had stopped to pick up neither book nor paper, and was consequently short of other things to do.

The staff room was a small room at the back of the building, mainly used for storage but with a kettle nestled among the boxes somewhere which gave it its name. There was also a broken rocking chair, one of the rockers of which had snapped off when it had been in their house, and which Albert had recycled as the one form of comfort in the room. Massaging her head, which had begun to ache after her tears, Con sat down in it, taking a moment to steel herself before she read the letter properly.

She was just folding it back along the creases, which she was careful to preserve, as if the contents of the letter would change otherwise, when Albert came back to find her. Seeing her, he smiled and knelt down in front of her, taking her hands in his and massaging the ends of her fingers gently. Then, in a deft movement, he placed two fingers over her pulse, just to make sure. He was nowhere near as protective over her as she had seen Jack be over Joey sometimes, but he still liked to make sure that she was all right occasionally.

“I brought you this,” he whispered, flourishing a notebook that he had tucked into the waistband of his trousers against his back, so as to surprise her. Withdrawing his fountain pen from his pocket, too, he pressed them into her lap, smiling up at her from his position on the floor. It reminded her of when he had proposed, how she had looked down at him in complete bewilderment. Knowing that he couldn't stay, he added as he stood up, “Good luck with the writing. I'll expect at least a page and a half when I get back.”

Smiling, Con watched him out of the room, then set aside all thoughts of babies rather purposefully and applied herself to her novel. Unable to remember exactly where she had left the last part, she spent some of the time jotting down a rough plan of where she needed to go next and then started to write the final, climactic scene. It absorbed her whole attention, so that it was something of a surprise when Albert came again, though she exhibited her plan with the reverence of a small, proud child before laughing and kissing his cheek as thanks for taking her home.

The journey home was spent in Con curling up on the passenger seat, shoes kicked underneath her chair, and yawning. There was no conversation between the couple, though they held hands loosely as Albert drove, and as she looked out of the window nearly all of the way she didn't see the concerned glances that he shot at her. Really, he shouldn't have left the surgery so early, in case anyone needed an emergency appointment, but he had told Hannah that if anybody urgently needed him she could ring the house, and otherwise he wasn't to be disturbed. At the moment, Con had to be his priority.

When they arrived, he locked the car and then escorted her inside, insisting that she go straight upstairs and lie down. It was evident that she was worn out, and even if she didn't sleep it would do her good to rest. He would, he promised, cook them a lovely dinner, so that she didn't need to worry about anything. Half an hour later and he went up to ask her if they had any garlic, only to discover that she was sound asleep, her hands curled into tight fists on top of the bedclothes. Fishing a rug out from under the bed, he draped it softly over her and stopped just to kiss the top of her head gently. They had a long journey to walk yet, but now they didn't need to do it completely alone.

Author:  Mona [ Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thank you! I love the way you show Con and Albert's relationship - they are perfect for each other.

Author:  PaulineS [ Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks you Ariel, their relationship is so balanced.

Author:  Abi [ Sat Mar 13, 2010 1:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

They really are lovely together. Thanks, Ariel. :)

Author:  Lesley [ Sat Mar 13, 2010 7:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Caught up on two posts -lovely scenes and of course Albert remains a perfect SLOC. Oh and Con? 'Slender hips' are the worst thing possible for child-bearing! :wink:


Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Oh dear. I fear that I am about to contradict all that's just been said :oops: But thankyou for the lovely comments anyway!

- X -

The next few days were calmer for Con, now that she knew that they had hope again. That evening was one she wouldn't forget for a long time; she woke up from her nap to the smell of cooking cottage pie, one of Albert's specialities from when he had lived alone and also one of her favourite meals. Smiling to herself, she tidied her hair, tried to get the worst of the creases from her clothes and just brushed a little bit of make-up on. She didn't usually wear it, having far better things to do with her time, but sometimes she liked to make an effort, even if Albert didn't notice.

For once, they sat in the living room to eat, curled up on the sofa together, with Albert asking about how her writing was going and making some suggestions as to how she could overcome a thorny problem with the plot. He was always there to advise her when she needed it, and he had learnt through the years when it was better for him not to ask, so that they had what Con liked to call a good working relationship. In fact, he had been the inspiration behind the explosive scene at the end of her published book, which had won him the loving dedication on the front page.

Lying in his arms, their dirty plates on the floor by their feet and a pleasant feeling of being full, and sleepy, and absolutely contented, Con found herself forgetting her fears from earlier in the day. She was being foolish, she knew she was, it was plain for anyone to see that Albert loved her just as deeply as she loved him, and that they were meant to be together. Sometimes she just had to remind herself of that, and forget all the worry and the stress. Even if they never had a child, she had him, and that was something far more precious than she could ever have imagined life giving her.

When at last they did go to bed, and as she was falling asleep in his arms, she resolved never to speak on that awful moment again, never to be so foolish as to think of it again. It was as impossible to imagine Albert cheating on her as it was to think that she could ever love someone else as much as she loved him, and she was being unfair to him to even consider it. After all, she had known not only her father but, through Len, Reg to be extremely close to their staff; it was natural, when you worked in such a close environment all day, and in some cases had to try and save lives together. Of course, this wasn't exactly the case for Albert now, but it was the environment that he'd worked in before, and so he would be used to trusting his staff.

Good intentions made, Con set not only that but the meeting with the specialist from her mind, to concentrate on her writing. It was no good fretting, when what would be would be whether she'd worried about it or not, and the one thing she did have control over was getting something written by her deadline. It had already had to be extended once, and she could tell that her publishers were starting to get annoyed with her. What she didn't realise then was that whim could come and change the best laid of plans in a second.

One evening, nearly a week after the letter had arrived, she was cooking while Albert worked in his study. This was unusual in itself, though he had promised that it was just so they could have some time alone after the meal, but as she hummed and worked, Con didn't really think about it. Her own mind was away in the clouds, with two of her characters nagging at her to let them have a fight, and it was only when she went to tell him that the meal was ready that she fully realised where she was again. As she could hear him talking, and guessed he was on the telephone, she stopped, and rested her hand on the door, preparing to enter as quietly as she could. But one word caught her attention and she paused, listening in without even thinking about it.

“I don't want to Con to know,” he laughed softly, to whoever was at the other end. “I'll tell her when the time's right, but for now we'd better keep it between us.” There was a pause, and then he said jovially, “Yes, of course. I'll speak to you soon, better go.”

Before she could hear him vow his love to another person, she swung open the door furiously, her heart pounding and her fists clenched at her side. All the suspicion and the fear and the jealousy clouded her again, buzzing furiously around inside her head until she couldn't even see clearly, the room swimming before her and Albert's voice fighting through the static although his words were unintelligible. The look on his face as he laughed with her, his receptionist, so pretty and young, wounded her heart.

For a few seconds she couldn't marshal her thoughts into order, couldn't force the words from the base of her throat where they sat painfully. Fear rose and made her start to tremble, fear that this was it and she was about to lose the one support she had, forever. For a second she debated pretending that she hadn't heard, that she didn't know what those words had meant, of just announcing dinner and turning, walking away. At least then she'd get to keep him. She even opened her lips to do so, the sentence prepared, but at the last second anger took hold, and instead she spat,

“That was her, wasn't it.”

Not trusting herself further, she turned and ran from the room.

Author:  Mona [ Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Oh, Con! No good ever came of jumping to conclusions!

Please let her be wrong, Ariel.

Author:  Lesley [ Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Con it might be better to find out who it was first. :roll:


Author:  shesings [ Sat Mar 13, 2010 5:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Oh Con!!!! I hope Albert can reassure her. But the self doubt and feelings of worthlessness that can come with infertility problems can have exactly this effect.

Author:  PaulineS [ Sat Mar 13, 2010 7:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Pleased Con let out her feelings. Keeping them locked inside her would not help. Albert can now deal with them.

Author:  Abi [ Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Oh, Con! Talk about leaping to conclusions. I suppose she's so tangled up emotionally that it's hard for her, but I do hope that Albert understands.

Thanks Ariel.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Sun Mar 14, 2010 3:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

She had turned to run up the stairs, but Albert caught up with her and tugged on her arm, pulling her down and into the living room where he shut the door and put his back against it firmly. As well as shock, there was a look of weariness on his face, as if he didn't trust her not to try and bolt again. Whatever had upset her, he needed to reassure her now. Meanwhile, she had stepped back from him, turning away so that she didn't have to look at him.

The words that he had said, that she'd heard him say, rang in her head, echoing tauntingly through the corridors of her mind until they were all that she could hear, the look on his face as he laughed at Hannah all that she could see. Doing her best to stop her tears, she hunched her shoulders over, scrubbing angrily at her face until she nearly tore through her skin in her frustration. Panic overwhelmed her, as she started to imagine all the things that it meant, but before she could think further a calm, familiar voice cut through her frantic upset.

“What on earth is wrong?”

Trying to find the words to express all of her fears, Con took several deep breaths, tears catching at the edge of them so that they became ragged and painful. Spinning around, she faced her husband, who was suddenly so old and weary. Would he look like that if she could give him a child? Would he have hurt her like this if she could just do something so simple?

“That was her,” she repeated in a wavering voice, brushing her eyes with the back of her hand again. “Hannah. I – I saw you together. At the surgery. I know.”

“Know what?” demanded Albert, exasperated. He was starting to guess what had upset Con, but his mind was numb, and refused to believe that she could think that of him. He would have trusted her implicitly, no matter what, and he refused to believe that she didn't do the same.

“About you,” whispered Con simply, all the fight suddenly going out of her. “I know that I can't give you what you want, and she can, and I know that you're falling in love with her, perhaps already have, and that I'm just – just – surplus to requirements now. It's ok,” she added suddenly, with a flash of inspiration. “You don't need to worry. I know.”

Much to her surprise, Albert's response to this was to throw back his head and laugh heartily, though he was quickly quiet again. The idea of him feeling anything for anyone that could even come close to how he felt for Con was ludicrous, but when he saw how upset she was he stopped. Solemnly he took her into his arms, holding her against his chest and stroking her hair, making soothing sounds and trying to find some way to convince her that she was wrong. That she could think that of him hurt, but already he knew that she'd only done so because of the situation, because of how emotionally fraught they both were.

“Don't be so silly,” he said at last, tipping her head up so that he could see her properly, running his thumb down her cheeks to catch her tears. “I would never do anything like that to hurt you, you know I wouldn't. How could I possibly love anyone more than you?” Seeing that she remained unconvinced, he cast his mind desperately around, and suddenly had a flash of inspiration. “Do you remember when we first met each other, and you nearly fell down the mountain?”

Dumbly, Con nodded. That had been a harrowing experience to say the least, the wind howling and the rain beating around the two forms, Albert the only thing between her and an infinite drop that seemed to stretch endlessly. Afterwards, she'd had nightmares on many occasions, sometimes even waking her flatmates in university with her screams. With a shudder, she remembered the terror of knowing that beneath her were sharp rocks, waiting to claim her as their next victim.

“Well,” he whispered, bending even closer to her so that his breath was hot against her damp cheeks. They'd only talked about it a handful of times, but she had impressed upon him how she felt. “Do you really think that after that I could ever feel for anyone what I feel for you? Really? You – you're the most special person in the world, Mary Constance Burford, and don't ever think differently.”

It was the use of her full name that eventually broke down her resistance, and persuaded her to start crying properly. It had been so long since anyone had said it, and if he hadn't been holding her it would have felt almost like being back in the study and being told off by Miss Annersley for not concentrating in prep again because she was too lost in a piece of writing. He was being so factual, though, that in the end she was forced to ask the one question left to her.

“So who was it?”

Really, she didn't doubt him anymore. It was silly that she ever had, she didn't know why she thought that when she knew that he loved her just as much as she loved him. There were just so many insecurities in her life, right now, that it felt as even the most solid lump of comfort couldn't be trusted to remain that way. Before she could fully accept the truth, however, she had to know.

“I wasn't going to tell you until later,” he sighed. “It was going to be a surprise, but you might as well know. That was Stephen on the phone; I was letting him know that I've spoken to the school, and next weekend we can go and see Felix and Geoff.”

Author:  ammonite [ Sun Mar 14, 2010 4:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Glad they managed to talk. Thanks Ariel

Author:  cal562301 [ Sun Mar 14, 2010 4:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks Ariel. Glad they managed to sort things out and that Albert has managed to arrange for them to visit Felix and Geoff.

Author:  Mona [ Sun Mar 14, 2010 5:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Phew! So glad Albert managed to reassure Con.

Author:  PaulineS [ Sun Mar 14, 2010 8:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks for reassuring Con.

Author:  Abi [ Sun Mar 14, 2010 11:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

So glad Albert was so lovely and reassured Con; it could have ended much worse than that. :)

Thanks Ariel, Albert is a wonderful man... completely trustworthy. :D

Author:  Lesley [ Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

It's actually very sad, isn't it? Because she's unable to have a baby she thinks her husband will not love her and will go elsewhere. Her self-esteem must be at rock bottom. :cry:

Glad Albert was able to reassure her.


Author:  jmc [ Mon Mar 15, 2010 8:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Albert is just so lovely and caring- a complete SLOC but feeling so sorry for Con feeling the way she is. Hope the visit to the school cheers her up a bit. Thanks Ariel.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Mon Mar 15, 2010 12:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks for all the comments! Er, as ever, I'm not sure how accurate this will be, but we'll see...

- X -

As the boys' school was so far away, they had to leave early, and so everything that could be had been packed into the car the night before. They had been warned that Geoff was to be kept firmly to school grounds, and so they'd packed a picnic of everything that Albert said he used to miss when he was at school. Unfortunately that was rather a lot, and he was to be found dragging it out to the car before the sun was even properly up, while Con made bacon sandwiches inside.

They had agreed that they would only have one break in the drive up, so that they could swap places and share the actual driving, and with this in mind Con had gone all out to make a large breakfast, so that as he came back into the house Albert was pleased to smell not only bacon, but also frying eggs, mushrooms and cooking tomatoes, all mingling nicely with the welcoming scent of home. Silently, he crept into the kitchen, and suddenly wrapped his arms around her waist, spinning her around and kissing her firmly on the lips.

After a long discussion about how much they loved each other, they had agreed to forget all Con's suspicions. When she talked about how much she had wanted to believe that he wouldn't do something like that, but that all the time she looked at women and wondered how it was that they could be so perfect and have a baby when she couldn't, he had forgiven her everything that she'd said against him. One good thing did come of it, though; Albert had insisted that she book an appointment with the doctor in the next district, to go and have some sleeping pills prescribed.

Looking much happier, and flushed at such impromptu romance, Con still managed to keep a straight face as she chastised him for interrupting her cooking, but there was real affection in her voice, that made Albert realise just how much she was looking forwards to going out. Most of the time she was stuck in the cottage, and while her writing helped her to escape it couldn't be much fun, especially now that they had the two month date hanging over them. It was no wonder that she had begun to imagine all sorts of things when she was cooped up so much.

“Next weekend,” he said suddenly, already planning all of the things that they could do together, “how would you feel about going a little further afield than usual? I heard that a museum an hour or so away is opening a Jane Austen display next Saturday, we could go and visit that.”

“I'd like that,” she promised in a soft voice, even as she deftly flipped the bacon over to stop it from burning.

Once they were driving, with ribbons of road flashing past them, bordered by high hedges, and with the occasional buzzard or kestrel floating high above them, Con lowered her window and sat back with a gentle sigh, letting the breeze blow through her hair. It was a fine summer day, the sun beating down on them and the traffic, even when they joined the main roads, not so busy as to be a nuisance. They had to queue more than once, but they never stopped properly, and they were making good time when she took over the wheel.

Usually they drove in relative silence, so that Albert could concentrate on the road, but a little later on Con worked up the courage to ask some of the questions which had been plaguing her since they'd heard the news about the specialist. Although Albert had been in regular correspondence with more than one specialist in the time that they'd been trying, they'd never had a meeting with one yet because it took so long to get an appointment, and she was nervous about what it would entail.

“Will we need to do anything before we go to meet the specialist?” she asked at last, apparently out of the blue, for Albert seemed rather startled for a second. Then he regained his composure and reeled off the list of things that had been included in the letter, as well as some educated guesses about what the meeting would involve. Being an expert, the doctor was based in London, which complicated matters slightly, but they both knew that they would find a way to get around that. He was their best chance of success, and if they had to move to London to be able to see him, they probably would have done.

Soon time began to drag, and they were forced to resort to playing an old game that had always been a favourite with the triplets, and which they used to play when all three would spend time during the holidays with Reg and Albert. It wasn't the same since Margot had left to take Orders, and as it worked best in a larger group they tended to avoid it, but for once they made an exception. This filled half an hour, so that the last fifteen minutes, between Albert giving Con directions, were spent in a hotly pursued game of roadside cribbage, which Con claimed to have lost only because she had to concentrate on driving.

Then they were pulling up outside the beautiful building that compromised the boarding school to which all of the Maynard boys, including Jack and his brother, had attended through the ages, Con with a gasp of delight for it had been years since she last saw it, and the majesty and splendour still took her breath away. The last time that she'd come had been to see Charles receiving his accolades before he left for university, as one of the most celebrated Head Boys the school had known. For Albert, who hadn't been to quite such a grand school but had been at something similar, the more immediate issue was the problem which presented itself of finding somewhere to park.

At last they found a place, and Con pulled in, turning off the engine and then looking quietly to her husband, who smiled. It would take someone who knew her very well to spot the signs of nervousness, and the responsibility that she felt that she was taking on in agreeing to come and see Geoff, to talk to him. Usually it would have been Len's job, and she was much closer to the younger fry, and he could tell that Con was wishing her sister could be here. He had faith that she would do just fine, however.

“Come on,” he said softly, hopping out of the car and into the warm, balmy air.

Author:  PaulineS [ Mon Mar 15, 2010 12:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks Ariel. Con and Albert are such a loving couple here.

Author:  Abi [ Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Ah, lovely Albert. I can't imagine a better partner for Con. :)

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Before they could start to unpack all of the things that they'd brought with them, including a bundle of letters from those who'd been able to send them in time, Albert had been warned that they must report to the headmaster and so, waiting for Con to fetch her cardigan from the boot of the car and swing her handbag onto her shoulders, he slipped an arm through hers and led her up to the grand front door.

Memories of his own time at school swamped him as they walked the grand corridors, footsteps muffled by the red carpet that ran through the middle of the wooden floor. He remembered how nervous he would be when half term came, and parents arrived to take you out for the day; parents were always a big test of school life, or any member of family for that matter, for if they were the wrong sort then you were doomed to be teased for the rest of your school days about it. Idly, he wondered what Felix and Geoff's friends would make of them.

At the foreboding office door which the maid left them at, they were greeted by a pretty young secretary, evidently having just finished her course, who, judging from the mixed bundles of papers in most places, was thoroughly scatter-brained but pleasant. She nodded when they gave their names, hunted around for at least two minutes, then withdrew a sheet of paper which she checked, before saying that the headmaster should be free. Consequently, she disappeared, to return with the news that they could go through to his office.

As soon as she stepped in, Con could see why the boys had always hated being called so much. In comparison to the light, airy room full of beautiful furniture that she remembered from her own school days, the room was dreadfully imposing. It was high ceilinged, and had wooden panelling across the bottom half of the walls, with blue wallpaper to cover the rest. The carpet was a pristine dark blue, and on the walls were portraits of various grave looking men, presumably old headmasters themselves.

“Mr and Mrs Burford,” said a voice from behind the desk, and Con refocused her attention to see a stocky man of average height, who seemed to almost be part of the room he fitted in so well. “Please, do take a seat.”

His voice, she felt, should have been friendly, but there was a steely edge which suggested that he was friends with no-one. Certainly, she would never have got into mischief knowing that she would have to face him at the end of it, and her heart went out to Geoff despite her resolution to try and impress upon him that he needed to behave better. Repressing the urge to hold Albert's hand, so that she felt protected, she took the chair that he waved at, stupidly pleased when Albert sat down next to her. Even the grate behind them was empty, so that the whole room felt dark and imposing, and try as she might she couldn't make her smile reach her eyes.

“It's lovely to meet you,” said the headmaster. “I'm sure that your brothers -” here he inclined his head at Con - “have told you lots about me, all good I hope. I've certainly heard of you from them. How many of you are there now?”

Blushing terribly, Con managed to stutter that there were still only eleven Maynard children, but that with the numerous wards that number went up slightly. It felt as if that was the wrong answer to give, but mentally shaking herself she told herself sternly that she had no reason to fear the man, she was here as a guest and nothing else, and that she was being silly. Thankfully, Albert must have sensed how she was feeling, for he nimbly took over by laughing that it was a miracle that there wasn't a visitor connected to the family here every weekend, given the amount of people who could be included in that description.

“Well, for now at least young Geoff won't be seeing many people,” was the reply, a stern reminder that they were not here for pleasantries. “Really, I shouldn't be letting him go with you today, but he has shown – ah – some improvement since I last had him here, and you said that you hoped to talk to him as his parents couldn't come.”

“Indeed,” said Albert smoothly. “With Dr and Mrs Maynard being in Switzerland, we were asked to assume responsibility for the boys during term time, as the oldest who could reasonably come. We do intend to have words with Geoff, for I know that his father, at least, is considerably annoyed with him and wants to know what on earth he thought he was doing. And, of course, it will be nice to see Felix; he was staying with friends last time we went to Switzerland, so it must have been a good two years since we last saw him.”

“Humph,” was the only reply that was vouchsafed to this, followed swiftly by, “I just wanted to warn you that even now Geoff can't be permitted to leave the school grounds. You are more than welcome, of course, to wander around, and do what you will, I trust that the boys know where is out of bounds, but I'm afraid that if you want to go out to town, say, you'll have to leave Geoff behind.”

As they had expected this, they agreed to the terms, and so a messenger was sent for and dispatched to tell Geoff to come to the office and to find Felix, wherever he might be. It was testament to the discipline of the school that not only did the young boy run off straight away, but he didn't even look disgruntled at his free time being interrupted; and how annoying it was, Con remembered, to have just had a new poem come to mind that was simply begging to be written down when you were sent for to run an errand.

While they waited, Albert attempted to engage in some conversation about the England rugby team's chances in an upcoming tournament, as someone he had been at school with was playing in it, but it was a relief all round when there was a tap at the door to herald the arrival of one of the boys, at least.

Author:  ammonite [ Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

It sounds far grimmer than the CS. The picnic should be interesting though. Thanks Ariel.

Author:  abbeybufo [ Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Not a nice-sounding school - and shades of the Demon HM :lol:

Thanks, Ariel :D

Author:  cal562301 [ Tue Mar 16, 2010 4:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

I don't like this Head at all. Good that Con and Albert get to spend time with Geoff and Felix, even if they can't go into town. Hope it doesn't rain! :D

Author:  PaulineS [ Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

I am surprised that any of the boys are still there. If Joey had seen it regularly I hope she would have questioned its attitude.

Author:  Abi [ Tue Mar 16, 2010 11:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

What a scary Headmaster. :shock: I hope they have a good time with the boys.

Author:  jmc [ Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

I don't like him. You think that there were times when you could bend the rules but I don't think he ever would. Thanks Ariel. Hope the rest of the visit goes well.

Author:  Lesley [ Wed Mar 17, 2010 6:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

What right does he have to disapprove of the Maynards' large family? We can disapprove but he has no right! :wink: Not really a Hilda Annersley, is he? I can see the strict discipline but not the understanding.


Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Fri Mar 19, 2010 6:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Sorry for the delay in updating this. RL stole all the plot bunnies for a few days, but they're starting to trickle back now, so hopefully I'll be able to do it more regularly. Sorry again.

- X -

Timidly it was swung open, and Geoff's tiny head appeared, for once not tousled by whatever mischief he had been in with Phil but instead as neat as could possibly be, bright red hair combed and parted neatly and freckled nose turned down, as if he was expecting trouble. When he saw who was there, his demeanour barely changed, although he did perk up considerably inside. Summons to the headmaster's office were usually confined to when he was going to be thoroughly chastised, and the jeering of his friends as he left the room hadn't helped at all.

Still, he was cautious enough to come forwards slowly to the desk, head lowered in the hope that it would stop attention being drawn to him. The scrupulously neat creature, every item of uniform correctly in place and sharpened to angles that would have made Matey's eyes water in admiration if she could have seen them, was so different to the young scaramouch usually seen at home that Con couldn't resist staring just a little bit.

“Maynard,” said the headmaster diffidently, leaning back in his chair. He surveyed the culprit for a moment, then added, “As you can see, you have visitors. Despite recent behaviour -” here he paused for a well timed cough - “I have decided to allow you to see them for the day, provided that you stay within school grounds. Understood?”

“Yes, sir,” murmured Geoff quietly, but his eyes had brightened considerably, Con noticed, when he shot her a sideways glance. “Thankyou, sir.”

“Very well. You may leave, and I shall send the other one to find you if you don't see him first.”

He stood up and nodded, a cue for them all to leave his office. Properly, Albert shook his hand, while Con smiled and turned away, preparing to leave. However, Geoff, hardly daring to hope that his luck could be this good, was the quickest out, apparently on the pretext of holding the door open for them, though Con noticed that he advanced several steps down the corridor as quickly as possible once Albert emerged into the dim light. Only one window at the end, high up, lighted the hallway, and tiny dust motes swirled through the light it cast, so that Con glanced up in admiration and missed Felix's arrival.

“Oh, hallo,” he said suddenly, arriving among them with a cheerful grin that lit up his youthful face. Even in the gloom Con could see that he was flushed and his breath was a painful pant. “You made it, then? You'll have to excuse me – practising cricket with some of the others. Where are you parked? I'll come and find you when I've tidied up.”

Albert told him, and the party separated, three of them towards the car while Felix peeled off to the splasheries to try and cool his face with cold water and tidy his hair, the rampant silver curls having flown in all directions as he ran to catch the ball or batted at the stumps. Meanwhile, Con, with some idea of starting a conversation, asked Geoff what he had been up to.

“Not a lot,” he said diffidently. “Still being watched, and we had Mr Johns today. He's a terror,” he added confidentially dropping his voice so that the two adults almost had to lean over to hear him. “Thinks that all young boys were born to be hanged, and that he was born to do it.”

Having imparted his information, he stopped talking again, glancing around as if the walls might have grown ears. Chuckling to himself, for he easily recognised the signs of a feared teacher being mentioned in hushed whispers, Albert steered the conversation more towards what work he'd been doing at the moment, to try and make him relax a little. Unlike Reg, who thanks to living on the Platz got to see most of the family at least once a year, he had never really had the chance to grow close to the younger children, and they tended to regard him more as one of Jack's colleagues, still, than their brother-in-law.

By the time Geoff had finished telling them enthusiastically of a Geography lesson that he'd really enjoyed, they'd reached the car, and started to sort themselves out. Even though they were limited to school grounds, Geoff, when questioned, said that there was a wood on one edge of the rugby pitch that they could go into the edges of. As long as they didn't stray from the very boundaries, they would still just be on school grounds, for a portion of it, including a pond, was kept aside for science lessons over the summer, fishing for frogs spawn or gathering leaves to dissect.

By the time that they were joined by Felix, they had unloaded the picnic basket and rug, and were just trying to work out the best way of carrying it all. Gallantly, the boys insisted that Con not have to take any extra weight, and so in the end Albert and Felix hoisted the main basket between them, while Geoff weighed himself down with miscellaneous. When he was told of the proposal to go into the woods, Felix approved in full, though the look he shot his younger brother when neither adult was looking seemed to suggest that he knew exactly where the blame lay for them not being able to go any further afield.

“All ready?” asked Albert, once he was sure that they had everything. “Good, then off we go!”

Author:  PaulineS [ Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Pleased your plot bunnies have come back Ariel. I wish mine would. Hope Felix does not make it hard for Geoff.

Author:  Abi [ Fri Mar 19, 2010 11:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Hope they have a lovely time. :D

Author:  Lesley [ Sat Mar 20, 2010 8:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Geoff doesn't seem too repressed by it all, does he? :lol:

Thank you.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Sat Mar 20, 2010 10:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks for sticking with this! I'll get to the point soon, I promise!

- X -

The walk across to the wood was a pleasant one, with rolling fields of green dotted at one end by a team of white figures all moving around, with random catcalls demanding that the batsman be declared out, shortly before someone walked over and flopped down on the raised embankment running around three edges of the pitch. On their other side the rugby team practised against the rest of the prefects and a few sundry sixth formers to make up numbers, watched on by a cheering crowd who shouted out developments for all to hear.

Thankfully, the party had to go down a small slope to get to the edge of the woods, which led them into both shade and quiet. Overhead a few birds braved the noise of the excited sportsmen to twitter happily from the dense branches, through which barely any sunlight filtered except in small glades. These oases mingled snugly with the growth to each side of a well worn path in the grass, an occasional break in the thick wood where a few flowers bowed their heads in the slight breeze that came through.

It was in one of these that the party sat down, Felix stretching out a rug and helping Con to sit down in such a grave and manly fashion that she couldn't resist a small smile of amusement, while Geoff and Albert deposited several miscellaneous items at random intervals so that they were nicely spread out and had room to sit down. Unfortunately there was no babbling brook nearby for them to set the flasks of lemonade – freshly made by Con the day before – in to keep them cool, and so instead they were poured out quickly to refresh everyone.

Then, deciding that niceties had been observed and he could really let them know how much he wanted lunch without seeming impolite, Geoff dived into the first of the picnic baskets to see what he could find. The feast that met him made him widen his eyes, for he had been expecting nothing of the sort, especially not from such a lofty and removed person as his elder sister. For the smaller fry, Con had always been the hardest of the elder siblings to approach, as she was usually so caught up in whatever she was writing, and Geoff had been apprehensive as to what he could expect from the visit.

“Is that ham and lettuce sandwiches?” he demanded, peeking in at the edge of a bundle. Digging underneath it, he began to list an itinerary of everything that he could lay his hands on. “And pork pies, cold beef, chocolate, cheeses, more sandwiches – this time tongue! - and -”

“Woah,” said Albert firmly, tugging him back out of what had previously been a neatly packed picnic basket. “First things first, we'll dole out plates and cutlery, no point getting ahead of ourselves. Then you can have sandwiches, pork pies and any of the fruit you want before we start on anything else.”

“Anyway,” said Felix teasingly, “The less you say about food given your current scrapes, the better.”

The pointed remark made Geoff flush and wriggle uncomfortably, as well as shooting his elder brother the sort of look that, had it been able to kill, would have done. Hastily, Con intervened to thrust Geoff's plate at him, in the hope of averting any arguments. She intended to talk to her younger brother later in the afternoon, and there was no need to remind him of what awaited him back at school before then. In any case, given that Felix had once been in trouble for starting a food fight in the halls, something which had been kept strictly from his younger and impressionable siblings before now, it wasn't really for him to say anything.

After that the picnic managed to continue in relative peace, with Albert and Con determinedly keeping on topics such as the chances of the school teams in the next round of games against neighbouring schools, Felix entering the essay competition for his form and what was happening on the Platz. For Con, at least, it was something of a shock to have time alone with just her brothers, and she started to see them in a new light.

Of course she had always cared about them, but she'd never bothered to really talk to them more than she had to before, preferring to let Len do that as she was the best at it. Despite all of Stephen and Charles' tales of school, she had never really seen before how different it must be for the boys. She was used to having her mother and father close through her school days, to help with any problems, and that they shouldn't have the same network of support struck her as rather unfair. Even Madge and Jem were too far away to come easily, and they were certainly no substitute for parents.

Once all of the food had been eaten, and everyone had reclined for ten minutes to declare themselves stuffed – apart from Geoff, who sucked slowly on the tail end of the chocolate – Albert, with a glance at the time, asked Felix if he wouldn't care to take a stroll through the wood and show him some of the notable plants. It was, he explained, always fascinating from a medical point of view to try and link what could be seen in the countryside to the pills that they were proscribing to save people's lives. With a quick glance up, Felix bit back the plea on his lips to be allowed to rest, and instead took the hint in the look he received and agreed easily enough, gathering the sweater that he'd cast off while he ate and leading Albert away.

“So,” said Con softly, once she was sure they were out of earshot, propping herself up on one hand to look at her younger brother, who was doing his best to examine anything but her. “Do you want to tell me what happened?”

Author:  PaulineS [ Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks Ariel. Glad con can have some time with the boys. I think she and Albert will be seeing more of them in the future.

Author:  Fiona Mc [ Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks. Hope Con can help Geoff and hope Albert can stop Felix from saying too much

Author:  cal562301 [ Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

This is lovely, Ariel. Thank you. Glad you've been able to write some more.

Author:  ammonite [ Sat Mar 20, 2010 1:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks Ariel, I hope Geoff feels that he can talk to Con and that she can help him. (and Felix)

Author:  Lesley [ Sat Mar 20, 2010 1:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

I'd have thought Con would be easy to approach than Margot - but perhaps the boys liked her because she was naughty?


Author:  Abi [ Sun Mar 21, 2010 12:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

I hope Con is able to help Geoff. Thanks, Ariel! :)

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Mon Mar 22, 2010 12:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Once again, sorry for not posting sooner! RL really doesn't like me at the moment.

- X -

“I guess that Len told you about the midnight feast, and that's why you've come. You never come and visit otherwise, so I thought that it must be because I was in trouble. Are you going to shout? Everyone's shouting at me at the moment; even Felix. And Stephen sent a horrible letter telling me off. Mum and dad wrote briefly to say how disappointed they were, and even Len said that I shouldn't have done it, but we didn't do anything so bad, honestly.

“It was just a midnight feast. We'd all been eating chocolate after dark for ages, and everyone does it, we stole the idea from the dormy down the corridor after Lionel crept in one night and caught them at it. Only that got really boring, and then it was Richard's birthday and he got sent a huge cake and loads of money, so we said that we could have a midnight feast to celebrate. It was supposed to just be an hour in the common room and nobody would be any the wiser, but Slippers caught us and then there was a row.

“We all knew that Tom shouldn't have cheeked him like he did, and he did say the most dreadful thing, about how Slippers had probably done much worse when he was young and now he was being a hypocrite, and that he had no right to come and interfere anyway, and even though we all tried to shush him he wouldn't listen. I think that Slippers probably would have just let it go if it hadn't been for that, but it really got his goat up – he was hopping mad! - and he marched straight off to the Head of House, who promised to report it first thing.

“So then of course they were all annoyed at us for being woken up in the middle of the night, even though that wasn't even our fault, it was Slippers who insisted on marching us all through the corridors. We must have looked like dejected ducklings trailing after him, quacking miserably in his wake. But Old Faithful was furious at being woken up – he sleeps like the dead, and you can hear him snoring from every dormy on the floor, and some of those above and below, so we always know when he's awake and on the prowl – and blew it right up when he took it to the Head, so that we could have been the worst gang of criminals since Stalky.

“Then there was the theft thing. I didn't mention that back at home, but you might as well know. Someone in our year's been stealing stuff, they think, because things keep going missing. None of us had given it a second thought, but of course when they caught us all out of bed they started thinking. Thankfully there was no proof; if there had been, he said, we would all have been expelled straight off, and as we all denied it they had to believe us, but they still think that we're behind it somehow. I don't see why, when one of the things that's gone missing is Gummers beautiful fountain pen that his Nan bought him, and he knows that none of us would ever do that to him.

“But they still said that they couldn't trust us in case we were responsible, so they've put us under supervision for the rest of the term. It was a bit of a blow, but then afterwards James said rather philosophically that at least it would prove it couldn't be us, because if things started going missing again they would know we couldn't have done it. All the same, it's a trial, and I'll curse whoever has been underhand enough to do it as soon as I find out who it is – we're all going for him.

“Otherwise it was just the punishment for the midnight feast, and the prank that we might have played on the music master. Technically, it was only Gummers being an idiot, but it got back to the Head that we were so excited in the lesson – because of the midnight feast – that he'd set off one of those squeaky toys that you get. Why he had it nobody could say, but it was funny to see a couple of the idiots at the front of the class who are scared of mice jumping up on their chairs. We got shouted at about that for a while, then the rest of the class got a talk as well, which hasn't made us very popular.

“I'm sorry we got into so much trouble over it, but honestly it was just supposed to be some harmless fun. The two fifths organised one last year and got away with it; everyone knew, even the masters, but because they only found out afterwards nothing more than a few dire hints were dropped. We don't even know how we got caught, unless the Sniveller in the other dormy was sore at being left out and snuck off to tell Slippers, in which case he chose well! But I know a couple of the others have vowed to find out as soon as they can get him alone; we're even supervised going to bed until we're all asleep at the moment, and don't the masters love us for it!

“Will you tell mum and dad for me that it isn't as bad as it sounds? The Head said that he wouldn't mention the stealing in letters home, because they couldn't prove anything, but they must be wondering. It wasn't us, Honest Injun, and they're all being really unfair about it, but we tried rebelling and it got us nowhere, so we're just waiting to see who it was. He'll have a rough time of it when we find out! Only, do tell mum not to worry, it isn't that bad, and I keep having horrors that she'll decide it isn't much different to the School at home and she can just pop in to sort it all out.”

Author:  PaulineS [ Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks Ariel. Poor Geoff. I hope Con can help him and will try to visit when he is not in trouble as well. Perhaps Geoff and Felix could visit them at Half term in future.

Author:  Lesley [ Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Poor kid, as he says, it wasn't all that - just blown out of all proportion. Hope Con can help.


Author:  cal562301 [ Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Poor Geoff and co. They do seem to have had a wholesale punishment for a bit of mischief. Oh for the CS approach of sending them all to bed to catch up on the sleep they lost! :lol:

Thanks for the update Ariel.

Author:  Abi [ Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Gosh, I should think he needs a drink after saying all that! I do hope Con can help him to put things into perspective a bit. It was rather sad that he expected her to shout at him too.

Thanks Ariel.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Once again, I'm so sorry for the delay! I think that I need to take a break from this and try and clear my head, but we'll see how it goes. Sorry for being so vague :oops:

- X -

For a few seconds Con was too shocked to do more than blink owlishly at him, until the most fleeting of doubts about whether or not he was responsible crossed her mind. Hastily, she shook her head, chastising herself. If he had said that it wasn't him then it wasn't; whatever else he might be, Geoff was always honest and played the game. His elder siblings had seen to that! Besides which, there was no reason at all for him to steal, especially when he knew the trouble that would await him at home if he ever did.

“Come here,” she said at last, holding open her arms. She half wondered whether Geoff's dignity would allow him to cuddle his sister, but after a quick glance around to make sure that they were unobserved he very briefly threw his arms around her neck, rolling his eyes as he let go as if to suggest that it was purely for her benefit. She could see that it had made him smile though.

Somewhere overhead a bird called for its mate, shrieking loudly, and a bough snapped. Further down, they could hear Albert and Felix exploring, calling occasionally to each other as they found something of interest. But apart from that they could have been alone in the world, even the distant shouts from the athletes not reaching them so far away. It was almost idyllic.

“Things will get better,” murmured Con softly at last, struggling to think what she could say. She wished heartily that Len was here; she was down-to-earth and could have made some practical suggestions, unlike Con, whose mind had gone blank. “Just stick it out and remember that you're innocent. The truth will out, it always does, and until then I believe you.”

“Honestly?” he whispered, looking at her with such hope shining in his eyes.

“Honestly,” she promised, lying back down and watching the sky through the canopy of the trees. Albert and Felix were drawing closer again, she could hear them coming, and so, to make sure that they weren't interrupted at an awkward moment, she quickly changed the conversation. “Have you heard from Mike recently?”

As Geoff hadn't, she spent a pleasant ten minutes catching him up on all the ports that had been visited, and Mike's latest exploits, which were always a source of amusement for the family. When they were joined again, she also told Felix, more briefly, and Albert added something which she'd forgotten, as well as reminding her to pass on the message that they'd had in a letter from Charles when he found out that they were visiting.

After that, they had to pack up the remnants of the picnic and start to walk back to the school, which dampened the mood slightly despite Albert's best efforts at a joke bad enough to make them laugh. It ended up being a competition as to who could come up with the worst pun, which in the end was awarded to Con, who laughed and demanded to know if this was a good thing or not.

The worst part came when they'd put everything back in the car and walked the two boys back to the entrance. It would have been good to keep them out longer, but they still had the drive home to do, and neither of them wanted to be back late, so they parted with some reluctance. Felix had known that Con would manage to show them a good time somehow, but Geoff had been doubtful and it was a pleasant surprise to him to realise what a good day he'd had, and just how cheered up he was by Con's faith in him.

“Make sure that you write soon,” she said to him, as they were standing at the bottom of the grand stone steps up to the imposing front door, saying goodbye. “I want to know all the news, and Len tells me that you never write to anyone, so you can jolly well start.”

“Yes'm,” said Geoff cheekily, and was rewarded for his troubles by a mocking glare from his brother-in-law.

“Less cheek from you,” said that austere person, but there was a gleam in his eyes, and he still patted Geoff heartily on the shoulder. Then Felix gave Con a hug, being old enough not to be embarrassed, and promised that he would write when Geoff found a good excuse not to. Then they really did have to go in, though Con and Albert stayed and watched until the door was closed again.

Heading back to the car, Albert slipped an arm through Con's, squeezing it in a familiar manner. Together they walked like this, close, unbreakable. It had been a lovely day, and silently Con resolved to come and visit the boys again at some stage, realising that she should have made the effort before now. There was always something else to do, though, or someone else to see.

They climbed into the car, Albert taking the drivers seat again, and pulled away, driving slowly down the sweeping drive so that they wouldn't run over any of the boyish forms that kept stopping to stare at them as they went past. There had been something tiring about the day, and Con was almost tempted to try and go to sleep, but before she could her husband turned to her and asked,

“So, do I get to know what was wrong with Geoff?”

Deciding that there was nothing particularly confidential about what she had been told, and that Albert would keep it to himself anyway, she started to retail what the small boy had said, eyes focused on the scenery flashing past rather than her husband. Something about the day had served to bring home to her how much she wanted a baby of her own, someone who would always bring their problems to her and trust her to fix them. Unconsciously, she kept a hand over her stomach as she talked.

Author:  Mona [ Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks for giving us another installment!

No need to apologise for keeping us waiting - the muse will strike when she strikes!

Author:  PaulineS [ Fri Mar 26, 2010 6:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Ariel thanks, i am sure Geoff now knows he has friends in Con and Albert which will help him.
Have a break over Easter if you need to and come back when you cannot keep away from it.

Author:  Fiona Mc [ Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks Ariel, that was lovely

Author:  Abi [ Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Glad they had such a lovely time and Geoff seems a little happier.

Thanks Ariel. :)

Author:  Lesley [ Sat Mar 27, 2010 8:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Pleased that Con was able to help Geoff.

Thaks Ariel

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Thu Apr 01, 2010 6:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Eventually had a nibble from the plot bunny - though I'm working tomorrow, which usually either kills them or makes them multiply at a scarily fast pace, so it remains to be seen if this will continue! I'm sorry if I say anything contradictory in the meantime; I've managed to leave my notebook with all my plans in it in Bristol :roll:

- X -

After this the next big thing that Con looked forwards to was the meeting with the specialist. She approached it with some very mixed feelings, part of her thankful that they had been given this chance but at the same time scared, terrified that he would just look at them and know that they would never have children. At least while she didn't know she could still have hope, and without that she didn't know if she could cope at all. Without hope she was alone in the world, for without hope she wouldn't even have Albert to comfort her. How could he possibly stay with someone who couldn't give him what he wanted, no matter how hard she wished for it, prayed for it, tried for it?

Of course, there were all the details of the journey still to make, the necessary travel arrangements and working out times of everything. In the letter, the secretary who had typed it up had written that from their address she appreciated that they would need to travel quite a distance to get there, and so she had given them a mid-afternoon appointment, but that if they thought they were going to be late they could ring ahead and the surgery would try and shuffle their times around.

After much deliberation, Albert had been able to secure for himself the two days off of work – the appointment was on a Thursday – and they were going to spend a long weekend with Charles and Charlie, to save them from having to do the journey twice in one day. The young couple, who lived together for convenience despite knowing of Joey's disapproval of such an arrangement, had promised to put them up until the Saturday, when they could leave whenever they wanted and make a nice, gentle trip of getting home.

With it all sorted, Con had fallen to worrying about what would happen while they were actually there, what the doctor might say to them and all the things that she might need to change. As long as he said that there was hope she knew that she could find the strength to do whatever was needed, and she clung to that thought through the longs days that she had to drag herself through before she could go to see the person who could make it all better.

At long last the evening before the big day came around. Albert came home from work as tired as ever, and, placing his shoes carefully into the rack behind the front door so that Con couldn't accuse him of not keeping the house neat and tidy, he collapsed on to the sofa, briefcase lent against the door to the office. Slowly unloosening his tie so that he could throw it down next to himself – he always maintained that a little bit of mess was needed to make a house a home – he sighed heavily and shut his eyes, only to open them again and look up as Con came into the room.

“Good day?” she asked conversationally, letting him reach up and pull her into his lap, so that she was sat above him looking down with a loving smile. He shut his eyes again and threw his head back, letting sleep was over him.

“Not bad,” he murmured, and smiled when Con leaned over and kissed him softly, circling her arms around his neck so that she could rest her head on his chest. “Busy, as ever, but at least I have some time off now.”

Neither of them tried to pretend that his time off would help him to relax at all, just as neither of them had tried to pretend that he needed to be at the appointment for any good biological reason. The problem, as Con knew all too well, was with her, the failures were engraved on her heart. Naturally Albert would be there, there had never been any question that he wouldn't be, because he was coming to support her and discover their future, but it wasn't him that the doctor needed to see.

“Ready for tomorrow?” he asked, as if he had been reading her thoughts. It was Con's turn to sigh, though she looked away, debating what to tell him. There were so many thoughts crowding into her head, all day she had been fighting to find clarity in the muddy sea of emotions. When she didn't reply, Albert guessed that and sat up, bending over her so that he could kiss her again. “Stop worrying,” he ordered, and when she only blinked, he added, “You can't change anything, so there's no point becoming stressed over it.”

“I know,” she said at last. “I just – I wish it was over, and we knew, but I don't want it to ever come because at the moment I can still dream, but once we've done this that'll be it.”

“We'll have a baby,” he promised, simple words that it was easy for him to say and which, Con thought, meant nothing at all, because he could have a child whenever he wanted. There were so many healthy, fertile women out there, and all he had to do was find one prepared to do as he asked, and he could have a child like that. He would never know what it was to lie awake at night and realise how empty you were, how there might as well be nothing inside if you couldn't have a baby.

“I know,” she said again at last, so that he wouldn't tell the path she was walking. It was one that she had to walk alone, because if he ever guessed how badly she hurt inside and how much she tormented herself, it would hurt him too. She had hurt him enough, she couldn't tell him that and make it worse, it would be cruel and it would prove how selfish she was.

Together, and yet so far apart, they sat entwined, each wondering about the future and what the morrow might hold. They both tried to convince themselves that it didn't matter, that whatever was said they would have each other still and nothing would ever change that, but secretly they were both scared. If they were told that they would never have children, it would change their relationship forever, and they both privately wondered if they were strong enough to face that.

Author:  lexyjune [ Thu Apr 01, 2010 7:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thank you for the update. Glad the plot bunnies have struck again.

Author:  cal562301 [ Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks for the update. I love the way you portray Con and Albert's relationship and attitudes towards their problem.

Author:  PaulineS [ Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Poor Con she is fertile, but her womb will not carry a baby to term, something I hope the doctor can help her with.

Thanks Ariel her feelings are so real for her time and upbringing.

Author:  Lesley [ Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!


It's so sad because, as Pauline says, she is fertile - it's just something mechanical that's stopping her carrying to term.


Author:  Abi [ Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

(((Con))) I so hope it's good news.

Glad the plot bunny is back, Ariel - long may it bite!

Author:  Fiona Mc [ Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Be careful of hope Con, it's sometimes the hardest burden to carry.

Thanks Ariel

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Sat Apr 03, 2010 4:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

The next morning was something of a rush, for, with an excellent sense of timing, the alarm clock decided not to go off and it was only when Con rolled over and realised that she should have been up half an hour previously that they were alerted to this fact. They would have missed their train, had it not been for Albert somehow managing the world's quickest shower and shave while Con frantically made extra sandwiches for them to have as breakfast. As it was, they only made the station with a cat's lick and a promise.

Thankfully the train was running on time, for although they had made sure that they had left themselves plenty of time to get there, so that in all probability they would be fantastically early, it was less stress for them to cope with, and they heaved a sigh of small relief as they settled themselves into an otherwise deserted carriage, having found a table at which to perch. There was a sharp whistle, and a sudden commotion as someone threw themselves into the train, before a rocking movement beneath them warned them that they were in motion.

With nobody else in the carriage, they fell on their sandwiches gladly, for it was an hour since they had awoken and their appetites were sharp. These were quickly devoured, along with half the flask of coffee that Con had remembered to throw in at the last minute, and then they sat back to look out of the window. Wisely, they had both brought things to hold their attention on the train journey to London, for neither of them wanted to be left alone with their thoughts on such a tense journey.

Soon, they were to be seen wrangling over the crossword together, with Con usually managing to come out on top, though Albert claimed victory over some of the more medically inclined clues. This kept them occupied for half an hour, although it felt like much longer to the nervous pair, and then they had to admit defeat. While Albert applied himself to the cryptic crossword, Con sat back and stared sightlessly at the countryside flashing by, the plains stretching before her until they reared into the clouds, wreathed in a purple mist that obscured from view their exact lineaments.

Tortured by what she imagined must come, trying to work out what would happen and how she would feel and all the things that the doctor might possibly say, she soon fished out her book and settled herself to reading from it, though the print was a dull blur to her eyes and her mind was strictly on other things. All the same, she stuck with it until they reached London, and Paddington Station. Here they alighted, Albert taking the bags and slipping an arm through hers so that they wouldn't lose each other in the crowds.

It had been a long time since either of them had visited the capital city, but Con at least had spent many a pleasant day here as student, though as Albert had taken his degree from a Scottish university he was less experienced. But they managed to find the underground station without a problem, and once there Con was in her element. All her knowledge from her student days of finding her way to various different cheap hostels and rooms rented for a week with Mary and Mabel flooded back, and before Albert had even worked out how to read the underground map she had planned their journey for them.

Although overcrowded and on occasion quite stuffy, the train journey wasn't unpleasant, and soon enough they found themselves outside an unremarkable white building, several stories high, with gold lettering announcing that it was the clinic that they wanted. With a deep breath they looked at each other, then slipped their hands together, squeezing each other gently. It was a silent promise not to let go, but to stick together through it all.

In actual fact, now that they had arrived, Albert was far more the nervous of the two. Con, having decided to bite the bullet, was quite determined to go through the appointment whatever might happen, but for just a second Albert hesitated. It felt like a judgement, not just on a personal level but on a professional one. He was used to working with specialists from his time at the San., but he'd never had to visit one as a patient before, and it felt considerably like his own doctoring skills were on trial. Still, he was there for Con, and he had promised to always be her knight in shining armour, whatever trials he had to face.

With a grim determination he walked in and to the front desk, where a receptionist was idly playing with her fingernails behind the desk, showing most of her dedication to ignoring the large stack of paperwork at one side. Forcing a smile despite her hostile exterior, Albert walked up and coughed, then announced,

“Hallo, we have an appointment here.”

Quickly he gave the name of the doctor and the time that they were supposed to see him – an hour yet – and, accompanied by an odd look at someone who arrived so early, the receptionist directed him to the third floor. That was all that was said before she went back to her bored filing, and feeling thoroughly chastened for no apparent reason that he could see, Albert turned to Con with a smile.

Together they walked over to the lift and pressed the call button, neither of them wanting to step into the small metal box and find out what awaited them above. Then suddenly a wave of impatience swept Con. If only they could find out, permanently, what their fate was to be, at least it would stop the waiting and the worrying. Even if it was bad, at least she would know, wouldn't have to live anymore in the land of half hope and half fear. So it was that as soon as the lift doors opened she strode firmly in, dragging Albert along behind her.

Author:  cal562301 [ Sat Apr 03, 2010 6:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks for the update, Ariel. But please don't keep us (or Con) waiting too long. We want to know the outcome of the consultation as much as she does! :D

Author:  Abi [ Sat Apr 03, 2010 7:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Surely the next post will tell us..... thanks Ariel, so hope it's good news!

Author:  cestina [ Sat Apr 03, 2010 7:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Fiona Mc wrote:
Be careful of hope Con, it's sometimes the hardest burden to carry.

Proverbs 13 v12
"Hope deferred maketh the heart sick" - one of the things I quote a lot - but the second part resolves it:
"but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life"
I hope that is about to happen for Con.....

Thanks Ariel

Author:  Fiona Mc [ Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks Ariel

Author:  Lesley [ Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Poor Con and Albert - hope they hear soon.


Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Sun Apr 04, 2010 11:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Abi wrote:
Surely the next post will tell us..... thanks Ariel, so hope it's good news!

You clearly don't know me at all!

- X -

The wait outside his office seemed never ending, as if they must spend the rest of their lives just sat, wondering, hoping, fearing, dreaming, a mix of emotions all fused together until Con had to grip the top of her handbag with knuckles that glowed white to stop herself from screaming or bursting into tears or having hysterics or some combination of them all just to make something happen. Next to her Albert, having found a loose coin in his pocket, twirled it around and around in his fingers, until Con very nearly snatched it from him. It was only the knowledge that this was his way of coping, just as she had hers, that stopped her.

At long last, when they had both memorised every inch of the room, mesmerised each other for a few minutes by debating what the mark on the opposite wall could be – until Con declared that, in time honoured tradition, it must be a snail, and then had to embroil herself in an explanation to Albert – and flipped the coin a few times trying to guess if it would be heads or tails, the door opposite them opened. A young woman came out, followed by another couple, but even as they tensed in their seats she called for the people who had been sat opposite them talking animatedly, and who followed her in straight away.

They went back to trying to amuse themselves. Con found the stub of an old receipt in the bottom of her bag and scribbled a few notes for a small piece of writing that she was doing as a hobby to distract herself when her main project wasn't going well, but for some reason that characters wouldn't come today. They had been her best friends throughout her childhood, when she struggled to find a place in a large family and instead recoursed to her own little worlds to avoid whatever family conflict was happening behind the carefully preserved happy exterior. They were there for her when she realised that her mother would always be too busy worrying about someone else to much notice the colourless triplet, and that Margot was too selfish to see her problems while Len was too caught up in the school and the younger children. They had even been there during long nights in Oxford as she yearned desperately to see Albert again.

But they wouldn't come now, when she needed them most.

How slowly that hour passed, how many lifetimes they went through as they sat together, slightly apart, not daring to touch and barely daring to speak, in case their conversation seemed too frivolous. How could anything be as important as what they were suffering inside their marriage, as the lack of a child there with them. In that hour their minds went once again over every possible outcome, every possible diagnosis and every possible treatment they could try. Cost, they knew already, would be no issue. Albert was far from wealthy, but they were comfortably off, enough to support themselves, and the Maynard family would offer up anything else that they needed. If they had to pay for drugs, or other treatments, the San would buy them in, and if they needed to travel there would be an Old Girl or family member somewhere on the globe who could put them up and look after them, that they had been promised.

Just as it felt as if the only hurdle to them having a baby now was the solid door in front of them, and that they might never meet the legendary doctor, the woman appeared again. Ushering out the previous couple, she looked over at them and smiled, a smile so reassuringly professional that it made Con's stomach churn and all her fears flood back in. Anyone who could be that certain must know something she didn't, and the only thing that could be truthfully said for certain would be that she would never have children. Stopping a moment to take a deep breath, she rearranged her skirt and then, on an impulse, slipped her hand into Albert's, so that they were walking together, strong.

The office they were escorted to was all that might have been expected from such a learned and esteemed man as Dr Lincoln. The walls were lined with books, the titles of some of which contained such medical jargon as even Albert didn't recognise, though he hastily tried to dredge up all he could remember on the very boring fertility module he'd dozed his way through at university, having signed up because it was easier than the alternative. Before they sat down, he reached out and shook the hand of the man sat behind the desk, who smiled at them.

He was a tall man, slightly imposing, with the softest and palest hands that Con had ever seen. A thick moustache bristled under his aquiline nose, and his thin lips could have made him look thoroughly untrustworthy if it wasn't for his eyes, the roundest and most honest it was possible to be. They were a baby blue, innocent, and she suddenly realised that she trusted him completely, just from that split second. If there was a man who could make sure she had a baby, he was that man, and as she sat down she found that all the tenseness and nerves of her body drained out of her, to be replaced by a certainty that they had at last found the help that they needed.

Softly, she found Albert's hand again, squeezing it slightly in lieu of being able to rest her head on his shoulder. In a voice of quiet command, melodious to someone so well trained in the art of music, the doctor surveyed them both and said,

“Welcome to my office.”

Author:  Lesley [ Sun Apr 04, 2010 12:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Hope he can give Con and Albert information they can use.


Author:  Fiona Mc [ Sun Apr 04, 2010 10:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Hope whatever the news is Con and Albert can cope with

Author:  Abi [ Sun Apr 04, 2010 11:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

At least the doctor is someone Con feels she can trust. Thanks Ariel!

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Mon Apr 05, 2010 12:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thankyou for the comments :D I'm actually going to try that little thing called moving the story along, now...

- X -

Charlie looked around her with a satisfied sigh and debated flopping onto the chair behind her, though she knew that if she did the only thing which would entice her up again would be to get a glass of wine, and she usually tried to avoid that until Charles came home, especially as she was cooking dinner that night. In fact, she reflected, she should probably start that about now, for it was well known what a good cook Con was, and she didn't want to show herself up, though they all knew that she was far from being a domestic Goddess.

She worked four days a week in a local school, as a teaching assistant and general help in the classroom and also as an administrator when one was needed to reply to letters asking for a prospectus and other basic office tasks. As she had never really had a goal in life, or a career that she'd set her heart on, this suited her immensely and she earnt enough to keep herself, though Charles liked to use his, considerably larger, wages to buy her the nice things that she would have to miss out on otherwise.

It did mean, however, that the house was empty most of the week and that, as neither of them were particularly enthused with housework when they were at home, it was often untidy. For once, Charlie had been able to work the Monday so that she could have Friday off, and she had spent most of the day cleaning and trying to make the house presentable. Neither she nor Charles were particularly house proud, and most of the time as long as they could see patches of carpet they were happy, but Charlie had decided that life would be much easier if nothing got back to Joey about her son's lifestyle. All too easily Charlie could imagine her mother-in-law descending for a two week holiday to pull them up and give their house a thorough clean while she was about it.

With a reluctant look back at the chair, which over the years she had moulded to fit perfectly her shape when she was curled up with a book, Charlie made her way into the kitchen and started to take out of the fridge all the ingredients that she would need. She had planned to make a vegetable stew followed by crushed meringues and raspberries, and had even remembered to go out and buy what she would need the day before, but looking at it now it all seemed like too much effort. Usually their fridge contained whatever dish Charles had made at the weekend to be re-heated as it was needed during the week, for it to be that full was rather alien to it.

Deciding that never again would the collection of ingredients look that good – she was not blessed with a natural talent for cooking, and years of experience had added nothing to her skills – she set to work, wishing fervently that just for once Charles could have asked to leave early so that he could have done it. He enjoyed cooking, although until he went to university it had been rather alien to him, and was usually the cook in the household. But as he had refused on the grounds that there could be a promotion opportunity soon and he would dearly love to get it over his main rival in the office, one Clarence McCarthy, she had to make the best of a bad job.

Thus it was that Albert and Con arrived just as the kitchen looked its worst, the cooking was not doing what she wanted it to, and she'd lost her raspberries under the plethora of other ingredients, books and equipment she had seen fit to drag out of the cupboards, most of them well meaning Christmas presents from Joey. Cursing, she went to answer the door, hair bedraggled in all directions and nearly as coated in flour as the rest of her, though why she had felt the need to knock the bag over herself and most of the kitchen she couldn't have said.

“Come in,” she said cheerily enough, deciding that it would be best to ignore all evidence to the contrary and pretend that she knew exactly what she was doing and was exactly where she wanted to be. Taking their coats from them, she threw her arms around Con's neck, hugging her ferociously, then did exactly the same to Albert. “Sorry,” she added as she stepped back, “you both just looked as if you needed a hug.”

Unable to stop himself, even Albert smiled, though he had been frowning on the doorstep. It didn't take long to realise that Charlie had the same effect on everyone, could make anyone suddenly relax and just want to smile, especially as she was completely unconscious of it and wouldn't have cared even if she had realised. Beaming on them, she gave Albert directions to the bedroom he and Con would be sleeping in and then dragged her sister-in-law into the kitchen, with a hopeless,

“Dinner might be a little while, even after Chas gets back. It's, er, not quite what I planned.”

“It looks good,” smiled Con, grateful not to have been besieged with questions as soon as they got in. It had been one of the things she feared, though she felt bad for not guessing that Charlie would know better than to ask. She was a natural listener, who, as curious as she was, could be relied on to wait until you were ready to tell her something. The only person who didn't get to benefit from this side of her was Charles, whom she plagued incessantly with any and all of the questions that came to mind, as soon as she thought them.

“Well,” smiled Charlie now, surveying the mess ruefully for a second before her face cleared. “It looks edible, at least. Why don't I get us some wine and we can leave it to simmer or what have you? Chas shouldn't be too long, and he'll know better what to do with it next.”

Thinking of the opportunity to just let go, set her worries aside for a few hours as there really was nothing that she could do now, and forget all that had happened during their meeting, Con agreed readily. They were joined by Albert, who sank exhaustedly into the cushions, apologised for being so anti-social, and then did his best not to fall asleep. Understanding, Charlie talked away, with the occasional comment from Con, just trying to make sure that neither of them dwelt too much on what they had been through that day.

Author:  PaulineS [ Mon Apr 05, 2010 12:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks Ariel, but it does not seem to have moved on far.

Author:  Abi [ Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Hey! I think you might have left out that bit where we actually find out what happened... :(

Author:  cal562301 [ Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

That's not what I call moving the story along. We are still in the dark.

Please come back and tell us what Con and Albert found out!

Author:  shazwales [ Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Ariel,that's not moving the story along,it's moving it in circles!

Author:  Lesley [ Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Nice one Ariel :wink:

Author:  linda [ Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

I just love Charlie's attitude to housework - fits in perfectly with my feelings!!!!

Thanks, Ariel.

Author:  Fiona Mc [ Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Charlie was so lovely there. After a day like Con and Albert's, talking about it afterwards is the hardest thing to do sometimes

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Well, I thought that it moved the story on, anyway! But then I know what comes next...

- X -

The next interruption came with the arrival of Charles, worn out from working hard all day but still smiling. Gathering Charlie into his arms and promising to return her shortly, he bore her into the kitchen to greet her properly, leaving Con and Albert alone. Smiling at each other reminiscently, for a time when they had first lived together and the best ten minutes of the day were the first ten minutes together in the evening, they sipped their wine and sat in silence.

How light and easy everything had seemed then, before life came crashing in on them. It wasn't the same, though; happiness came in many different forms, and the happiness they had now and the happiness that they would have if they were ever blessed with a baby was a very different sort of happiness to the one that they'd had then. Neither of them would have changed it and gone back, though. Light-hearted, carefree happiness was brilliant while you were in it, but after that the sheen wore off and you started to realise all the things that you'd missed out on while you were wandering around in your bubble.

With a laugh Charlie backed into the room, swinging the door quickly shut behind her and holding the handle firmly. Muffled through the door, Charles was saying something, though neither of the guests could make out what. Their presence seemed to have been forgotten, though, for suddenly Charlie spun around and then stopped, before she laughed again and flopped down, picking up her wine glass and explaining,

“I just told him that we'd left him dinner to do. Needless to say he is not a happy bunny.”

“Do you want a hand?” called Con into the kitchen, but Charles appeared to tell her that there was no need, he would get on with it, he was used to being abused; with a pointed look at Charlie, who only smiled knowingly, he withdrew again, and they saw no more of him until dinner was served. It turned out not to be too bad, considering that it was Charlie who had started it and she was – as Charles so eloquently put it – death to anything domestic.

Laughing among themselves, they made a merry meal, enjoyed their pudding in a leisurely manner and then retired again to the living room – they had been eating at the kitchen table – with refilled glasses, a pleasantly warm glow about them all. Con and Charles shared the sofa, with Albert lain out at one end, head thrown back and eyes shut, while Charlie perched on the chair and did her best to entertain them with tales of some of the daft things that Charles had done.

“What about you?” he asked at last, turning to his sister as she tried to recover herself from laughing at Charlie's vivid description of the argument he had had with a bus driver. “How did it go today?”

Albert opened one eye blearily, prepared to jump in if it looked like he was needed, but when he saw Con's gentle smile he relaxed again. They had both known that they would have to recount their story several times, to his family and to various factions of hers, it was just as well that she was comfortable talking about it.

“It wasn't as bad as I was expecting,” she smiled, finishing her drink and putting the glass on the floor – which had one or two dubious stains, as if to suggest that it wasn't uncommon for wine to be spilt on it. “The doctor was lovely, he just talked to us for a little while and did a few tests. He was quite honest, said that he would do everything he could to help us but that at the end of the day we might have to accept that we just couldn't have a child.”

She paused long enough for Charles to throw his arms around her and hug her tightly, letting her bury her face in his neck. Suddenly she remembered that when the triplets had been tiny, and the two boys even smaller, Charles had always been the one that she wanted to cuddle, because he was the smallest. Len and Margot would get into fierce arguments about who got to look after Steve – quite an independent soul, who usually wandered off and quite happily did his own thing while they were busy – but Con would take baby Charles quietly to a corner and tell him nonsensical stories without a murmur.

“It will happen,” he said at last, with a final squeeze. “We both pray for you every night, and I know that the rest of the family are as well.”

“I know,” laughed Con suddenly, with the same simple faith as her brother. “I had to practically beg mama not to ask Nancy Wilmot to add it into the school's prayers every day. Lovely as the thought was, I don't want a school full of girls knowing all our business; I think that mama forgets that most of them don't know me nor me them anymore.”

“Joey will always turn to the school when she needs support,” predicted Charlie wisely, before ruining her gravitas by adding, “Chas, be a dear and fetch the alcohol. It's been a long day!”

Protesting wildly at how this could be when she'd been in the house all day, he nevertheless stood up, rolling his eyes at her laziness and general ingratitude towards him, but smiling all the same. It made Con smile too, for it was quite clear that the couple were deeply and madly in love, and in her younger, impetuous and far more tactless days she might well have asked when the wedding was to be. She held her tongue, though, sure that they wouldn't welcome her intrusion, and soon enough they were discussing whether or not Felix could be the next head boy in the family.

Author:  PaulineS [ Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Ariel you have NOW moved it on slightly. Thanks.

Author:  La Petite Em [ Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

I just read this the whole way through, and I certainly do feel for Con after all that :( Her relationship with Albert is lovely though, he is perfect for her. Thanks Ariel.

Author:  Lesley [ Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Ah now that was lovely - pleased the Doctor was honest with them.

Thanks Ariel.

Author:  Abi [ Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Very glad that Con seems to be more at peace, even though the news was not unequivocally good. Love seeing her and Albert with Charles and Charlie. :D

Thanks Ariel!

Author:  jmc [ Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

It's nice to see that Con wasn't totally devastated by the news and seems to be accepting it calmly. Enjoyed seeing them all having dinner together. Thanks Ariel

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thankyou for your lovely comments! :D

- X -

Once they were back at home they settled nicely into their normal routine, Albert going back to work on the Monday morning as if nothing had happened. Of course it had been noted that he had been away, but anyone who asked in his presence or that of his receptionist – who knew no better herself – was told firmly that it had been a family visit to Con's brother, as they had missed seeing him when they were in London the summer before to visit Albert's family as a celebration of a new nephew.

Gossip mill satisfied for the present, Con was content to tuck herself away in the house and try to get on with her own work. The book was so close to being finished that, without interruption, she hoped to have it sent off and finalised within a week, though what she would do with her time then was a pleasing problem. Being an authoress was all very well, but it did tend to leave a gap in one's life between books that it was sometimes difficult to fill. Her mother had usually managed it with a new child, but before the thought that this wasn't exactly an option for her was fully formed she dismissed it from her mind.

There was a charity ball being organised soon with many important guests from the local community having been invited, including another local author and an expert in ceramics who lived by himself in the hills, and she had decided that she could offer the committee any help that they needed. With an internal sigh for the days when she thought that her life could be adventure and travelling and not exactly the same as her aunt, “that nice Lady Russell”, she made a mental note to ring up the organiser. At one time, she really had lusted after adventure like that, but she had always known that it would come down to a choice between that and Albert – who already had a career and was settled enough that she wouldn't have forgiven herself for uprooting him further – so that there was, really, no choice at all.

About midway through the morning, just as she was tackling a knotty paragraph crucial to the final action scenes, the telephone rang through the hall, a shrill noise that made her jump and smear ink across one of her pages. Hastily blotting it, she stood up and walked purposefully into the office, pausing for breath before she lifted the receiver. Usually it was someone for Albert, and she had to scrabble around for ages trying to find a clean piece of paper on which to write a message, but today she got a surprise.

“Hallo,” said a richly familiar voice at the other end, which she recognised at once as Dr Lincoln. Heart beating wildly, she sat down in the chair behind her, mind racing over what this could mean. It was bad news, it was sure to be, it couldn't be anything else, not when he was calling her so soon after their appointment. Trying to steady herself, she realised that she had better say something, and so, falteringly, she managed to choke out,


At once she chastised herself for behaving like an adolescent with her first crush, and with a huge effort managed to stop her hands from shaking. But she had been warned that they probably wouldn't hear from the doctor again for at least a fortnight, and a call out of the blue – from the man himself, so that it couldn't be just some procedural glitch for his secretary to sort out – scared her. They had been told that the results of the various tests which had been performed could be got ready over the weekend so that they could be analysed sooner, mainly thanks to who they were and Jack's subtle hints about the whole process being as quick as possible, but the results must be something startling indeed for him to ring this soon.

“So,” he said, after a few pleasantries had been hurriedly exchanged. “You're probably wondering why I'm ringing up so soon. Please try not to worry too much, it's not bad news as such, it's just that as I said I had your test results analysed over the weekend, but they were drawn to my attention as rather urgent.”

This was even worse, and Con found herself becoming oblivious to her surroundings as she waited to hear what he would have to say. If only Albert had been there, he would have known what to say and do, what such a call could mean, and he was always better with people anyway. Numbed with tension, her fingers automatically shredding the edge of some very important paperwork Albert was supposed to be filling in for an annual conference that he attended, she made a vague noise down the telephone to indicate that she was listening.

“Is your husband there with you?” the doctor asked. Rather too quickly, Con answered that he wasn't, even more convinced that it was to be bad news, no matter what he said. “Would you rather that I called back when he was? Well, if you're sure. It's just that you said at our meeting that you weren't currently pregnant and hadn't been for some months.”

The truth of the matter was that the two people hadn't really been intimate for some time. With all the other stresses in their lives, and the fact that they were both struggling to sleep, made worse by one of them inevitably tossing and turning most of the night when the other was sleepiest, had driven the desire to do anything more than cuddle from their thoughts most of the time. Besides which, Con was keen not to look for symptoms; if she never knew she'd been pregnant, she reasoned, she could never know that she'd lost the baby.

“I'm pleased to say that that may not be the case,” said the voice at the other end of the line. “According to our test results, you're pregnant.”

Author:  Lesley [ Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Hopefully this is good news - because the Doctor will be able to discover just why Con keeps losing babies - and maybe even fix it?

Thanks Ariel.

Author:  PaulineS [ Wed Apr 07, 2010 11:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks Ariel. Hope he can help them keep this child.

Author:  Mona [ Wed Apr 07, 2010 11:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Oh, hopeful news. Thanks Ariel!

Author:  cal562301 [ Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Also hope this is good news and that Dr Lincoln can help them keep this child.

If they haven't been intimate for some time, the pregnancy must be pretty far advanced, which surely gives more hope?

Author:  shesings [ Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Perhaps the last miscarriage was of a twin and the surviving baby just went on developing normally. I hope it all goes well for Con and Albert.

Author:  La Petite Em [ Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

What news! I really do hope it works out for Con and Albert this time! Thanks Ariel.

Author:  Abi [ Wed Apr 07, 2010 9:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Holding out a tentative hope. Maybe the doctor will go on to explain what this means?

Thanks Ariel. :)

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

It was a small whirlwind of confusion that spiralled through the reception of the doctor's surgery, and was only stopped by Hannah calling over to it. The familiar, clipped, professional, warm tones recalled Con to her senses and she rather sheepishly made her way over to the desk, where she was informed that Albert had a patient and couldn't be free for at least another two hours, for he was fully booked.

“I need to see him,” insisted Con at once, scrubbing fiercely at her eyes. It had taken every ounce of self control that she had ever learnt not to burst into hysterics on the walk over, though the whole time she had been calculating, working out, trying to fit this particular piece of news into a bigger picture. “I'll go in as soon as he's finished this appointment. It's an emergency. A real one.”

“You really can't,” replied Hannah strongly at once. She was starting to become annoyed at the interruptions from Albert's wife to her working day, and as much as she had to be polite she didn't see any reason not to let Con know that. “He's very busy for the rest of the day, he doesn't have time to see you.”

“He's my husband,” said Con stubbornly. “He'll see me, and for once his patients can wait. I never interrupt him usually, but I'm sure he's told you what a trying time we're going through, and this is news that he'll want to hear straight away as much as I want to tell him. Or are you going to try and pretend that you don't know everything that's going on?”

All of her old fears and suspicions were rising again, surfacing in her eyes. There must be some reason that Hannah wanted to keep her away from her husband, something that she wasn't to know, and he had promised that there were no secrets between them. Perhaps it was just as well that at the moment the previous patient appeared, clutching a prescription, and made her way over to the desk. Seeing her chance, Con sped towards the door before the old man who was supposed to come next could get up.

“Sorry,” she called behind her. “Won't be a minute.”

To say that it was a surprise to Albert when he saw Con rush in and slam the door behind her would be something of an understatement. For a moment he just froze, all sorts of horrible possibilities going through his mind as to why Con should have felt the need to come to him. When he'd left her that morning, she had been bright and cheerful, and even if the reaction he had been fearing from their weekend had come, it would have to be severe indeed for her to seek him at work when she knew that he would have been home in the evening anyway.

It alleviated his fears nothing that her first action was to throw herself into his lap and burst into a storm of almost uncontrollable tears, silent and ferocious, almost terrifying in their intensity. His initial reaction was to hold her as tightly as he could, but when, after five minutes, she still hadn't calmed down, he prised her away and held her back, looking solemnly at her and then wiping at her damp cheeks to try and calm her down. Finally, he pressed into her hands the glass of cold water that he always kept on his desk, insisting that she take a sip as soon as her breathing started to slow down and return to normal.

“What's wrong?” he asked at last, when the storm seemed to be calming. Worry still made his heart skip a beat, though, when she turned such solemn eyes on him that he was convinced that someone must have died.

“Dr Lincoln rang,” she said, turning her head away suddenly. He feared the worst, feared that they had been told they would never have children, and his grip on her inert body tightened unconsciously. “I – oh, God, Albert I can't believe it. He said that I was pregnant. I thought about it on the way over here. I must be four months. Four months pregnant.”

“Four months?” he repeated, stupefied. On his wife's nod, he suddenly exclaimed, “But we've never reached four months before, it's always -”

“I know,” she said quickly. “I know and I don't know and I'm so confused, but I'm pregnant.”

The shock seemed to have hit her harder than anything else. Even when they'd been told that they might never have a healthy baby, it hadn't felt as if she'd lost anything, as such, more that there was just nothing left to gain. But that, she had reassured herself firmly, didn't matter as much as what she had, and she would come to terms with it in time. Now, however, there was something very real and very much alive – she hoped – inside her, waiting to be lost, and that made it something completely different to what it had been before.

As if sensing how she felt, Albert leaned forwards and kissed her, then, gathering his thoughts together as best he could to try and say something coherent, he really started to appreciate what he had been told. Through just a thin layer of flesh and body his son or daughter was growing, steadily, healthily, more than ever before. It was Con's tiny sob of breath that re-awoke him to his surroundings.

“That's good news, surely,” he said. “If the baby's survived this long, that's good, it's got to be. What did the doctor say?”

“That I'm pregnant,” she repeated again simply. This was suddenly the only fact in the world that made sense.

Author:  cal562301 [ Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Lovely scene.

But I hate Hannah for trying to stop Con seeing Albert. I can't believe there's anything going on behind Con's back, though, as Albert is so obviously in love with Con and has stood by her through so much.

Author:  PaulineS [ Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks, poor Hannah, she is going to find her surgery delayed even more as Albert will need to ring Dr Lincoln and find out what else he told Con and she does not remember.
Thanks Ariel.

Author:  Abi [ Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

I can see where Hannah's coming from as she presumably doesn't know how traumatic the situation is, but I'm glad poor Con didn't have to wait to see Albert. And very glad of the good news.

Thanks, Ariel!

Author:  La Petite Em [ Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Oh I really, really hope that it turns out ok this time. Con and Albert deserve it!

Author:  2nd Gen Fan [ Fri Apr 09, 2010 6:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Good news for them - please let it happen this time.

Author:  ammonite [ Fri Apr 09, 2010 11:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Ooh I come back from a few days away and finally find good news on one of the threads!!! Long may it continue! :D
Hope Con doesn't start to worry now.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Sat Apr 10, 2010 11:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thankyou everyone :D

- X -

In the end, after a phone call to the doctor for Albert to talk to him and get some advice, as well as book an appointment for a fortnight's time so that they could assess Con and start to get some idea of any problems that might arise, they looked at each other and smiled.

“Our son,” whispered Albert softly.

“Daughter,” corrected Con at once.

Even with the shock that they'd received, they were both soon awoken to Albert's responsibilities by Hannah appearing to ask if he intended to see the rest of his patients today or not. Promising that she would be fine to walk back by herself, as it would give her a chance to think over everything that she had learnt in the last two hours, Con stood up and brushed herself down, then bent over so that Albert could kiss her and wipe her smeared make up with the pad of his thumb.

“I love you, oh mother of my child,” were his parting words, before, with a smile, Con slipped out of the room, to apologise to those who had been kept waiting and promise that it really had been of the utmost importance. There were a few murmurs of discontent, but she knew that Albert did such a good job usually that this would all be forgotten in a few days when the next piece of gossip started.

The road home was a beautiful one, even though the weather left something to be desired. While she had been in the surgery it had started to spatter unenthusiastically with rain, so that drops fell at odd intervals on the crown of her head, making her shake her hair back in annoyance. Her coat was held firmly around her, for the wind was an unpleasant one and tugged at her until she gratified it with a shiver, and she began to regret not also wearing out hat and gloves.

With each step her thoughts turned to something new, though all baby related; one moment she was trying to decide whether she would prefer a white, red or yellow nursery, the next she was reminding herself that there was still every chance that this baby would die as well, then she would recall Dr Lincoln's words, that at this stage there was a far higher chance of survival than at the start of the pregnancy, even for women who had had problems before, and that if she could try not to worry that would help further.

Gently, she wrapped a hand around her waist, protective. She almost couldn't believe that she hadn't noticed all the signs, but she had been so intent on not seeing them, and on worrying about the meeting in London, that they had just evaded her. Without even faint morning sickness to guide her, there had been very few obvious indicators for her to pick up on anyway, she tried to reassure herself. All the same, despite her insistence previously that she didn't want to know in case the worst happened, she couldn't help feeling that she had let down both herself, Albert and the baby by not noticing its existence before now.

So caught up was she in her thoughts that she failed to notice the car which appeared on the horizon, bowling merrily along the winding lanes, and it certainly failed to notice her until the very last second. Just as she approached a corner she heard a violent squealing behind her of brakes in need of oiling being applied hastily, and it was only by flattening herself into the hedgerow that she managed to miss being hit by the car. It skidded to a halt just around the corner, but even as she started to shake with the realisation of what had nearly happened, the irate driver stormed around the bend.

“What on earth were you playing at?” he demanded furiously, gesticulating wildly all the while. “You can't just walk along the middle of the road without paying attention like that, you could have killed both of us. Why didn't you jump out of the way?”

“I am pregnant,” replied Con with much dignity, drawing herself up to her full height. “It would hardly have done the baby much good to have me vaulting over hedges, would it? Perhaps in future you should drive more carefully.”

“Wouldn't have done it much good if you were run over,” retorted the driver bluntly, turning and marching back to his car muttering something about stuck up women. Seconds later the engine started again and it drove off, in a cloud of dust that threatened to choke Con, so that she walked on rather quickly. The rain was thickening heavily, now, and she had no desire to catch a cold at such a crucial stage, so setting her teeth and trying to forget about irksome drivers she marched on.

By the time she reached the house she was soaked through, her hair hanging in damp strands around her face from where the wind had blown it from the carefully made bun she tended to each morning, and she was shivering so much that she almost couldn't get the key into the door. A regular storm was approaching, and already she could hear thunder rolling around the hills further down the valley.

Thankful to have reached sanctuary, she stopped only to drape her damp clothes in front of the continuously lit Rayburn before dashing upstairs and into a warm bath. It had been years since she last caught a cold, excepting the one that Albert brought home from a patient every winter, and she was hopeful that this would stop any unpleasant after effects of her walk. While she luxuriated in the hot water, she prodded experimentally at her stomach, then wondered if the tiny foetus inside could have felt the slightest of pressures for just a second. She hoped so, she hoped that it knew that its mother was thinking of it.

Author:  lexyjune [ Sat Apr 10, 2010 1:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

AAW! loved the bit at the end. Thank you.

Author:  Abi [ Sat Apr 10, 2010 2:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

:poke: the mean driver. It's lovely to see Con so happy - and a definite squee at the last part. :D

Thanks Ariel!

(How many happy posts in a row can you manage? - keep it up! :wink: )

Author:  PaulineS [ Sat Apr 10, 2010 5:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks that was a lovely, happy post except for the driver.

Author:  Lesley [ Sat Apr 10, 2010 6:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

I missed a couple of posts! :shock: Pleased Con was able to get to see Albert and Hannah needs a few words about priorities - wonder if she's got her eye on Albert? That driver needs a good kicking!

Thanks Ariel

Author:  jmc [ Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Don't think too much of Albert's secretary. Pleased that there has been some happy news for the pair of them. That was so sweet there at the end.

Thanks Ariel

Author:  La Petite Em [ Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Stupid driver! Con would make such a lovely mummy; I really hope things run smoothly, for her sake. Why do I have this sneaking feeling they won't though?

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Sorry for not updating sooner! Two days of work rather decimated my supply of bunnies, though they're starting to come tentatively back now. Thankyou for the lovely comments!

- X -

After that, things seemed to be very much in a blur for a time. They duly went back up to London for a much longer consultation with the doctor about all of the things that they could do, and all of the things that he could do, what it would mean if they did lose this baby as well and any problems that might potentially arise. At first Con was scared by the suggestion that it might not be completely healthy, that there might be an increased risk of something being wrong with it, but to be able to hold her baby, no matter what it was like, was more important than anything else.

Every morning she would wake up and lie completely still, all her senses alert, to check that the baby was still alive. Each time she felt any sort of movement from her stomach region she stopped what she was doing. Sometimes it was just hunger pains or something equally innocuous, and she was able to go back to whatever had been interrupted with her mind temporarily relieved. The tension, however, was telling on her, and a few weeks later Albert was startled out of reading his Sunday newspaper by her urgent cry for him.

Fearing the worst, his heart in his mouth, he jumped up and rushed to her side, stopping in front of her when he saw the expression she was wearing. Whatever else was wrong, she hadn't lost the baby, she couldn't possibly be smiling so broadly if she had. Stupefied, he watched on as she picked up his hand and placed it against the steadily growing swell of her stomach, until suddenly he let out a gentle cry of his own. For the first time, he'd felt his baby kick.

Moments of joy like that were few and far between in the sea of worry and fear that enveloped the tiny family unit. From then on, however, Albert could rely on being called from whatever he was doing at any time to come and feel the kicks that Con was regularly subjected to. They had agreed that they wouldn't tell their families until they reached six months, as if it would be to tempt fate otherwise, but a fortnight before that time Con approached him one evening, sliding herself sinuously against him and suddenly asking,

“I owe Margot a letter, and I wondered if you'd mind me telling her about the baby? She won't let slip to any of the others, I promise, but I want to tell someone, I'm just so excited.”

The day before, they had braved the plunge and gone out to look at baby things. It was a week after the first kick, and it had seemed like such a poignant reminder of all that would need to be done that the following Saturday had found them setting off in the car to the nearest city, where they could start to think about how their nursery would look without exciting any gossip. In the end, Con had simply had to buy a small toy that she saw, and dithered over for ages, but it had seemed like more of a good omen than a bad one. Now it sat on the windowsill of the spare bedroom, destined to become a nursery, beaming over its surroundings.

“I suppose,” sighed Albert, grinning and squeezing her slightly. “We'll have to tell them all soon, I'm sure that the village has noticed and started talking already. Besides, her last letter sounded awfully depressed, she could probably do with something to cheer her up out there.”

Accordingly, Con started to plan how she could best tell her sister of the impending joy that at last seemed to be happening for them. It was hard to believe that in three and a half months she could be holding her baby in her arms, after all of the disappointment and heartache. Sometimes she still didn't, and she spent her life on eggshells, wondering if the next morning this was all to be snatched from her again. At long last, she felt able to write down the words that she'd thought.

Dear Margot,

Sorry, I know you don't like being called that, but it's how you'll always be to me! How are you? In your last letter you sounded dispirited, but I hope that life there isn't so bad as all that. I know that you desperately wanted to practice medicine, but He will see that you do the work He wishes for you, and you are being so selfless. If it's medicine that He wants you to concentrate on, He'll make it happen in the end.

And now to some news of my own. As you know, we've been struggling for quite some time to try and conceive – and I still haven't told Albert that you knew long before anyone else, so please don't say anything! - but at long last it seems to be happening. I wanted to tell you sooner, for all the support that you've given me over the years, but we knew that we couldn't tell even Len until we were ready for them all to know, and I didn't want to tell you too much in advance of that in case she found out. She would be terribly hurt.

In any case, I am five and a half months pregnant – more than halfway there now! We're seeing a specialist in London, and he's given us all sorts of advice, but the main thing is that the baby is still alive. We've even started to feel it kicking, and the other day Albert suddenly told me that he liked the name Clover for a girl. We haven't had any discussions about those sort of things yet, I'm still trying to convince him that a red nursery would be good, because we don't want to tempt fate, but I think that we can get a little bit excited now.

So, my dear, prepare yourself to be Auntie Margot for a second time! I'm sorry that you can't be here with us, I'd love to have my sisters around me, but I know that you'll write as soon as you can, and in the meantime we're building up to telling Albert's brother and all the family this side. I did think how tempting it would be just to send mama a new hat and explain that it's for when her head swells at the thought of a second grandchild!

Your loving (and pregnant!) sister,

Connie x

Author:  ammonite [ Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Glad to see all is still going well for Con and Albert. I love Con's idea of how to tell Joey!

Thanks Ariel - another nice post (no cliffs) :D

Author:  Mona [ Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thank you! I love Con's idea of how to tell Joey!

Author:  thefrau46 [ Tue Apr 13, 2010 1:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Fingers crossed for Con and Albert but please will you tell her that a red nursery isn't a good idea. Not at all calming!

Author:  La Petite Em [ Tue Apr 13, 2010 8:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

It's lovely that Con feels she can trust Margot so much. Thank-you Ariel.

Author:  shazwales [ Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks Ariel,just caught up with this it's lovely to read! :)

Author:  Abi [ Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Awww, lovely. :D :D :D

Author:  Lesley [ Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Pleased Con can trust Margot - and isn't it telling that she cannot trust Len in the same way? Love the thoughts about a red nursery but think it likely to give the child nightmares! Hope all goes well.


Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Wed Apr 14, 2010 1:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

thefrau46 wrote:
Fingers crossed for Con and Albert but please will you tell her that a red nursery isn't a good idea. Not at all calming!

You're in luck, Albert managed to step in and save things! Thankyou, once again, for such nice comments :D I'm afraid that I seem to be rather enjoying these lovely updates at the moment.

- X -

One day after work Albert was running late, and it was just as Con was starting to worry that he sauntered through the door, large grin on his face for no evident reason that she could see. He looked perfectly normal, if slightly more dishevelled than usual, but as soon as he dropped his briefcase he scooped her into his arms, lifting her up off of the floor until she screamed and then laughing and kissing her passionately. There was now a noticeable bump sat between them, and as he put her down he rested his hand over it, rubbing it slightly.

“Good day?” he asked quietly, turning her around and starting to massage her back, just there in the middle of the hallway, as if he had come home specially to do it. Relaxing into him, she nodded, letting his fingers work at the knots between her shoulder-blades and the gnawing pain further down which she was sure could only get worse as she started to carry more weight. However, a moment later and she jolted upright as he declared, “Excellent, because I have a surprise for you.”

All her demands to know what he meant were met with the firm silence that indicated that he intended to finish her massage first, but as soon as he had done so to his satisfaction, he put his hands over her eyes and turned her, leading her outside. The second that her feet touched the gravel he realised his mistake, for she wasn't wearing shoes, and so, telling her to stay where she was and keep her eyes shut, he walked away. She heard him open the boot of their car, and was just starting to wonder when his footsteps turned and he came back.

“Open!” he commanded.

When she did, she was met with the sight of two pots of paint, and a roll of wallpaper tucked under his arm. Guessing at their purpose – the wallpaper was be-sprinkled with tiny, jolly looking ducklings, she grinned and clapped her hands, taking one of the pots from him and dropping it on the floor, waiting for him to do the same, before hugging him ferociously.

“I even got red,” he mumbled into her hair. “Not for the whole room, but I thought that it might look quite striking around the wall with the window in it. Then we can paint the rest of the walls a lovely cream with just a hint of yellow, and I'm going to make a border of the ducklings as well as framing some squares of whatever wallpaper is left, to make pictures. Only, I thought that we'd better start now, before your bump gets too big for you to help.”

“It's perfect!” whispered Con, enchanted, her mind already flying away across the possibilities. “And if we start this weekend -”

“We could have it done by Sunday evening,” he finished complacently, standing back and admiring her. “Then I can start making the furniture – we'll need a cot and a chest of drawers, and a changing stand, and I thought that maybe I could make a wooden mobile as well and paint it all sorts of bright colours. Do you think that they'll like that?”

“They'll love it,” promised Con, laying his hand over hers on her stomach, so that their baby rested underneath them. She was excited for him, and for them, to see him so enthused about something at last, but her own feelings were mixed. She still found it so difficult to believe that she was going to be allowed to be a mum along with everything else that she had in her life, when she'd almost resigned herself to it never happening.

“Excellent,” beamed Albert, then added sternly, “Now, woman, where's my dinner?”

Laughing, Con went back to her cooking, while Albert took the decorating things upstairs and put them reverently in the room that was to become the nursery, watched over solemnly by the teddy bear, who nevertheless was still smiling. Albert took it for approval, and suddenly laughed at himself for being so silly. With a light heart and a feeling that this time everything would go smoothly, he ran down the stairs, intent on having dinner.

After their meal, they looked at each other, and then decided that it wouldn't hurt just to do a little bit of painting before they went to bed. Neither of them were very sleepy, yet, and to do anything else would have seemed wholly pointless when they knew what they could have been doing instead. Unfortunately it took them ten minutes to change, after Albert declared that Con was definitely getting fat and had to be battered into submission with a pillow until he admitted that it was for all the right reasons, and suited her.

“Come on,” he said at last, after she had flopped down beside him with tears of laughter in her eyes, so that they were lying on the bed looking up at the ceiling together, both panting and breathless, flushed with the exertion. “We'd better get started, and we can do maybe half a wall tonight.”

It was like being back at the start of their relationship, when they could be light-hearted and carefree and just joke with each other about anything and everything. In a way, it made her sorry for her sisters – Len and Reg had always been sombre and serious, she couldn't imagine them frolicking in the same way, and Margot would never know the joy of falling in love, though she had found a far deeper love of her own. To be able to recapture that with Albert, however, and still have the reassurances and comforts that her marriage had given her, made it more special than ever.

Author:  cal562301 [ Wed Apr 14, 2010 1:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

What a lovely scene. Keep this drabble happy, please Ariel.

Author:  Mona [ Wed Apr 14, 2010 2:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Lovely to see Con and Albert so happy together, thank you Ariel.

Author:  La Petite Em [ Wed Apr 14, 2010 2:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

I say it again, they are so perfect for each other! Please can it stay happy Ariel?

Author:  cestina [ Wed Apr 14, 2010 2:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

ChubbyMonkey wrote:
Only, I thought that we'd better start now, before your bump gets too big for you to help.”

Lovely Ariel - and Albert needn't worry. We moved into our first house 2 weeks before our first baby was due and I was painting, decorating and heaving wardrobes into position almost till my waters broke! And I bet I'm not the only one.......:D

Author:  PaulineS [ Wed Apr 14, 2010 3:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

cestina said
Lovely Ariel - and Albert needn't worry. We moved into our first house 2 weeks before our first baby was due and I was painting, decorating and heaving wardrobes into position almost till my waters broke! And I bet I'm not the only one.......

But not a good idea for Con between weeks 26-38 I would have thought. She does not need to put the baby at risk because it come early.

Edited to correct my English

Author:  ammonite [ Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Yay another nice post :D Keep going with the happiness, Ariel.

Author:  Abi [ Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

*happy sigh*

Am very much enjoying seeing them so happy together. Thanks Ariel!

Author:  shazwales [ Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks Ariel,as others have already said keep going with the happiness?Please :?: :)

Author:  jmc [ Thu Apr 15, 2010 6:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Pleae let the baby be born and be nice and healthy. Con and Albert deserve some happiness.

Thanks Ariel

Author:  Lesley [ Thu Apr 15, 2010 6:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Awwww - that's so lovely. :lol:

Thanks Ariel

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Do just let me know when all this lovliness gets rather boring, please!

- X -

After that, the weekend was spent in decorating the nursery. On Saturday morning Con was up early, though she insisted on making Albert breakfast in bed before they started, and they managed to find ten minutes just to hug each other and dream. With the advent of preparations for a baby, it was finally starting to dawn on both of them that this was very much real and happening; whether they liked it or not, though of course they were overjoyed, the baby seemed to be intent on joining them soon, and they needed to start thinking about all the things that would have to be done before it was born.

In a week they were going back up to London to see the specialist again, and Con had already decided privately that she would ask him about the birth. It still felt as if they were tempting fate to talk about it so surely, and she had to keep reminding herself that it might never happen at all, but nerves were starting to set in and she wanted to be reassured. The cost of the repeated journeys was starting to tell, but they were going to see if they could stay with Charles and Charlie again. This was also a good incentive to tell their families at last, something that they'd been putting off just in case.

“I'll ring mama and papa this evening,” said Con thoughtfully, as she picked up a paintbrush and started to daub red on the one wall she was allowed to paint the colour of her choice. “I shall have to ring Len, too, she'd hate to hear it from them, so I'll have to do it early. Perhaps I'll ring her first, just before George usually goes for his bath, and then she won't have time to rhapsodise too much and I'll only have to try and dissuade mama from going on.”

“Poor you,” laughed Albert fondly, bending over to kiss her before reaching up and starting to paint the higher parts of the wall that they'd begun the day before. The colour was very similar to the magnolia that the walls had been before, but it was lighter and would need two coats, and the paint was old and dirty anyway. Often, the room had been used for doctors staying with them or various members of their family, and Albert had meant to redecorate it for a while.

They worked with a point and vim, so that Con had done as far up as she could reach on the red wall – Albert was letting her nowhere near the chair which had substituted for a ladder, and promised to do it himself – and half the bottom of one of the other walls by the time lunchtime came around. Already the room was starting to take shape, the dark colour a nice contrast to the light which flooded in and reflect the yellow blended subtly with the white paint. Deciding that she was hungry, Con fought her way along the hallway, which had gained an extra chest of drawers and a rocking chair while they painted, to go and make them sandwiches. What they would do with the furniture originally in the room was a problem that they couldn't solve yet; the rocking chair would stay for Con to sit on while she was with the baby, but the rest of it would have to go somewhere.

Together, they ate the egg and cress sandwiches in the middle of the nursery, sitting in the midst of the old sheets which covered the floor and admiring their handiwork. Albert worked out what he would need to do to sand the floor down and then brighten it up, so that it was as light and airy as the rest of the room, while Con started to dream about all the cushions and coverlets that she could make to match the décor. Time was running out for her to sew things, now, and they had eventually agreed that it might be best to ask Len if she could spare any baby clothes to bring over when she came to visit in a month's time – the planned visit had had to be put back a couple of weeks, but they were still intending to come for the night – and buy the rest. It would prove more expensive, but would be less work for Con, and less stress.

By the end of the day most of it was done, and all that they would need to do on the morrow would be to add the second coat of paint to the white walls, which they would have plenty of time for after church. With the dying rays of the sun scattering across the room, Con's imagination was suddenly caught and, hormones coming to the fore, she sat down in the middle of the floor and burst into tears, much to Albert's surprise. Eventually, he calmed her down enough to leave her while he went to run her a bath, and when she stepped out she discovered that he had started cooking dinner for them, so that she could ring around her family.

“I can ring the folks tomorrow,” he promised, when she protested that he had as much right to tell his brother as she did her family. “You go on and do it tonight, get it over with. I just hope that they aren't too excited – you know that response from my end will just be a congratulatory card that Caroline thought to buy and force everyone to sign, but I dread to think what Joey will take it into her head to do.”

Laughing her agreement, Con tucked her dressing gown more firmly around herself and went into the study. It was an unheated room to try and save money, and was far from warm, though she had thought to stop at the hall cupboard on her way and fish out an old blanket to wrap herself in. With the extra layer she was quite snug, and as soon as she found a comfortable position in the old, padded chair that they loved, she hooked the telephone towards her and picked up the receiver, laying one hand across her bulge and using the other to dial the operator and ask for Switzerland.

Author:  cal562301 [ Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Please Ariel, keep this one happy. It's certainly not boring and I couldn't bear it if something went wrong.

Author:  lexyjune [ Thu Apr 15, 2010 6:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Echoing Cal, its lovely and I'm really enjoying this.

Author:  La Petite Em [ Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

I agree with the other two, I really want everything to stay lovely! Thank-you Ariel.

Author:  Abi [ Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

The loveliness is wonderful and not boring at all - please don't let it stop!

Author:  shazwales [ Fri Apr 16, 2010 12:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

i'm agreeing with everyone,please keep this a happy one! :)

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Fri Apr 16, 2010 4:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

It has been brought to my attention that the end of the last update was wrong - I've edited it and hopefully got it right this time!

- X -

“So what happened?” demanded Albert. He and Con were tucked up together on the settee, sat upright at the moment as the dinner plates were still on their laps. Moving these, Con threw her legs across him, lying back into the cushion and smiling to herself. Though she could still see over the dome of her stomach, she rested a hand on it as if to flatten it anyway, and was rewarded with a small kick from the baby.

“He does like abusing me,” she groaned, stretching a little to luxuriate, then looking hopefully at Albert. Grinning, he picked one of her feet up and started to massage it gently, his fingers turning tiny circles that made her tingle and then giggle as he tickled her just a little.

While he worked, she told him about the two telephone conversations that she'd just had. Firstly, she had rung Len, and let her elder sister tell her all about George's latest achievement of leaving bright red hand prints across the paperwork that Reg had dedicated an entire Saturday to, and which he knew was firmly off limits to him. He shouldn't even have been in the study, as Reg pointed out to her rather crossly afterwards, for it would mean re-typing them again, and they were needed for a conference in Geneva in two days. The silver lining came in George having been thoroughly subdued, so that he had managed to avoid almost all mischief for three days straight, not counting his attempts to bathe the muddy cat that they kept mainly for his amusement.

Then she had asked after her sister, and with a deep breath, Con had blurted out, in her usual tactless way, that she was six months pregnant and the baby still seemed to be growing healthily. The resulting scream, as she pointed out drily to her sister, could have been heard without the need of a telephone. It just so happened that Len vented her feelings at exactly the same moment as Reg walked through the front door, so that he'd come rushing to see if she'd burnt herself, tipped the dinner all over George, or some other misfortune.

Too excited to be coherent, she thrust the phone at him, and he received the good news from Con herself, congratulated her in a hearty but more conventional manner, promised that he would just go and shake Len into some sense again, and put the telephone down. A few seconds later and her sister reappeared to apologise for the dramatics and explain that she had been rather excited by such thrilling news. Reg, she added, was going to take George for his bath and make sure that the dinner didn't burn, so that she could hear all about it.

Con obliged as best she could, explaining that they'd only known themselves for a couple of months and that they hadn't wanted to tell anyone until the pregnancy was as advanced as possible, just in case. The baby had been kicking away quite merrily all day, though, and all the signs were looking good for them to have a healthy baby at the end of it all. At some point, both women had started to cry, and then laugh at themselves for being so soppy, and tell each other that they really were being spineless jellyfish and Miss Annersley would have been ashamed of them. It was just such good news, though, and it was only by saying that she really must ring Freudesheim before they would be retiring for the night that Con managed to hang up the phone. Len's joy for her, though, was real and absolute, and she had to blink back more tears at the thought before she could pick up the telephone with an only slightly shaking hand.

When the telephone was answered, it was by Jack, whose voice noticeably brightened as he realised who it was. However, she couldn't control herself as she had with Len, and even as he asked if she really was crying or it was just a bad line, she suddenly burst out with her news. A stunned silence greeted her this time, the complete opposite of the previous reaction, but then Jack asked her if she was all right, and the baby, and Albert, and told her sternly that he wanted to know all about it. It sounded to Con almost exactly as if he was on the verge of tears himself.

She filled him in as best she could, offered to go and get Albert to explain the medical side, and was told firmly that there was no need. As long as the baby was alive, they would all rejoice, nothing else mattered right then. Some idea of his surroundings must have finally come back to Jack, though, for he told Con to wait a moment and then shouted for Joey. Her reply must have been something light-hearted and breezy, for he added rather impatiently that she was to come to the telephone at once.

Joey's reaction when Con told her that she was pregnant is better imagined than described. There was a pause so long that Con was moved to ask if she had fainted, at which Joey, indignantly, promised that she really hadn't, she just thought that the news could have been broken rather more gently. She wound up by asking how long they'd known, what stage the baby was at, and when it was due. Her demands for information could have gone on all night – as Madge had once said, for asking questions Joey could be pitted against anyone! - but much to Con's relief she was called away to have dinner soon after, and was able to extract herself, say goodbye to her bemused father who promised to call again the next day when they'd had a chance to properly appreciate the news, and then hung up hurriedly before Joey could think of anything else to ask.

“As you'd expect really,” said Con musingly, as Albert glanced at her enquiringly. “All very excited, Reg and dad thrilled, Len over the moon and mum bursting at the seams with questions. If the phone rings at any point tomorrow, you're to answer it – I need a break!”

With which she shut her eyes and prepared to enjoy her massage.

Author:  shesings [ Fri Apr 16, 2010 4:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Oh please, Ariel, don't let anything bad happen to them! This is so lovely!

Author:  Mona [ Fri Apr 16, 2010 4:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

*echos shesings*

Author:  cal562301 [ Fri Apr 16, 2010 4:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Ariel wouldn't dare let anything go wrong for Con and Albert this time. Would she?

*wonders if threatening to disclose Ariel's real name (which I just discovered) will help keep the bad vibes away?* :lol:

Author:  Abi [ Fri Apr 16, 2010 9:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

I fear that any attempt at blackmail might result in misery for Con and Albert, Carol... :wink:

Loved the reactions of all the family - very realistic and lovely! Thanks Ariel. :D

Author:  La Petite Em [ Fri Apr 16, 2010 11:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thank-you Ariel!! :)

Author:  linda [ Sat Apr 17, 2010 1:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Please, pretty please, Ariel, let it be alright for Con and Albert this time!!!

Author:  jmc [ Sat Apr 17, 2010 2:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

The reactions from everyone were great and so realistic. Keep the happiness coming Ariel. Thanks

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Sun Apr 18, 2010 2:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

:lol: Blackmail rarely has the desired effect on me! I wasn't sure that people could stand much more happiness - but I decided to try anyway!

- X -

After that, Con's startling news seemed to fly around the family. By the next evening she had fielded calls from Charlie, who'd been rung by Joey that morning, Stephen, who had been going to ring anyway but who had just been told by his mother – apparently ringing up to check on his well-being – to ask her about her news, and Nancy Wilmot, who congratulated her on behalf of the school and begged to know as soon as it was born. By the last of these she was starting to grow bored of the constant excitement, demands for the same information and general enthusiasm over something that for once she would have quite liked to keep private.

Albert spent half an hour on the phone to his brother and then took a call from Jack, who promised to try and get Joey to stop telling all and sundry the good news. Unfortunately, she was a trifle excited by it all, and when she'd gone across to tell Felicity, Cecil, Phil and Claire about the good news she'd discovered that she'd had to tell the Head as well. Apart from that, he promised, it was only Biddy Couvosier, who'd come over for tea that afternoon and, as she said afterwards, received the shock of her life, when Joey calmly informed her that a new baby was coming.

“She said to me afterwards that she thought it was Joey who was going to be busy again,” laughed Jack down the phone. “I've sworn her to secrecy, and in the meantime I'll do my best to control Joey, but you know what she's like. Oh, I should probably warn you that she's now talking about coming across with Len and having the week with you, so that she can make sure you're looking after her precious daughter. Tell Con that if she really objects, I can always find a conference that I must attend and to which she must accompany me forthwith.”

When put to Con, the idea was not exactly well received, but she conceded that it would be better to give Joey her way. As she pointed out hopefully, it would give her a week off from housework – if Joey could be trusted to keep house without Anna there to help – and she probably wouldn't see her parents again until the baby was at least a few months old. Besides which, she rather privately thought that they wouldn't be having any more children, because even if Albert wanted to she couldn't stand having to go through the heartache of them dying again, so this might be the last and only chance Joey had to share a pregnancy with her. And, as Albert pointed out, she might know what best to do about Con's aching back, having carried triplets at one stage.

This being the case, preparations were under way for Joey to join them soon; the house was fully spring cleaned and Con made the most of being able to move still, before Albert banned her from any sort of exertion at all, to order him in some furniture removal, to try and clear some space for the things from the nursery, while she threw around smaller bits and pieces. The day before they were due in London, Albert was able to install the cot, looking over it as proudly as he might have surveyed a just conquered country.

Once more the meeting with the specialist turned up nothing alarming. The baby, as far as they could tell, was still healthy, and Con could testify that it was still very much alive after two hours of being kept awake by it kicking the night before. He talked them through their options with regard to the birth, strongly recommending that they have with them the best doctor they could get, in case of any complications. He also explained what was likely to happen, and warned Con of things she should look out for leading up to the big day.

The big piece of news came from Charlie and Charles, who were playing host to them that weekend. They arrived weary but happy, to a barrage of questions on how the baby was. Playing at being the good host, Charlie sat them down with a cup of tea before she started, but then she wanted to know every small detail that she could reasonably ask, about the baby and about Con, so that even Albert was more enlightened by the end.

Soon after they were joined by Charles, but it was clear that Charlie was bursting to tell them something of her own, and it was only politeness that stopped them from asking. At long last, however, Charles said in a long-suffering tone of voice,

“Well, if they haven't guessed that something's up with you they must be either dim or more wrapped up in the baby than we gave them credit for. Go on and tell them.”

“I'm not supposed to say anything,” said Charlie in a confidential voice, leaning forwards slightly in her chair, “but I told Chas that I simply had to tell someone, and we knew that we could trust you to keep a secret – look at how long you kept the baby from us! Anyway, we only finalised it yesterday, and we aren't going to tell anyone until exactly a fortnight beforehand, when Len's over, so you really mustn't breathe a word. Not even a hint of a word.”

“Oh, get on with it,” groaned Charles theatrically, earning himself a disapproving glare.

“It's just this,” said Charlie, once she'd made her disapproval plain. “In just over a month's time, we're getting married!”

Author:  Lesley [ Sun Apr 18, 2010 2:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Oh that's lovely! All the reactions so in character, love Joey having to be muzzled to stop her telling the world! So please for Charles and Charlie too.

Thanks Ariel - sorry I missed a couple of up0dates.

Author:  PaulineS [ Sun Apr 18, 2010 4:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Pleased for them all. Wonder what Charles and Charlie thik about having Joey there!

Author:  shazwales [ Sun Apr 18, 2010 4:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks for another lovely update! :)

Author:  cal562301 [ Sun Apr 18, 2010 4:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks Ariel. I'm quite happy not to blackmail you. Seems that there is currently no need! :lol:

Author:  Abi [ Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Congratulations to Charles and Charlie! :mrgreen:

Thanks Ariel!

Author:  ammonite [ Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Yay I like happy posts. I'm glad nothing is amiss with the baby and congratulations Charlie and Charles - I can't wait for Joey's reaction.

Author:  Fiona Mc [ Mon Apr 19, 2010 12:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Am really happy for Con and Albert. That's wonderful news.

(And really happy about Chas and Charlie as well)

Author:  jmc [ Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Yay, another happy post. Congratulations to Chas and Charlie. So pleased all is going well for Con and Albert. Thanks Ariel.

Author:  La Petite Em [ Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

So happy for Charles and Charlie! Fingers crossed for Con :) Thank-you Ariel!

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Wed Apr 21, 2010 2:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Sorry for the break - I had a friend staying :D

- X -

Needless to state, this news changed everything, and preparations had to be made as soon as possible. Discreetly, Charles had approached his father about what the plans were for the day in question, though he had been careful to give nothing away, and had found that it would be impossible for his parents to attend. Knowing his wife as he did, Jack had guessed that Joey, once she got to England, was highly likely to keep finding excuses to stay until the baby was born and beyond, and so, sensitive to Con's need not to be smothered, he had found a conference she would need to attend with him three days after she was due back.

With this in mind, and the fact that Len and Reg were unlikely to be able to get away either, the happy couple said that they had been trying to work out who they could expect to attend. In the end event, as Con and Albert were definite about attending, they asked Albert to be best man, and Con maid of honour. Charlie explained, when they were sat discussing it over coffee the next evening, that she was going to ask her mother to give her away, with her two younger sisters, Debbie and Eliza, as her other bridesmaids. Her eldest sister, Nancy, she reluctantly explained couldn't make it, as she was in the middle of a ballet tour at the moment.

Delighted to be given such leading roles in the ceremony, they promised to do their best to help, and were henceforth treated to almost nightly phone calls about various problems or ideas. The reason for such a quick change wasn't explained to them, other than that Charles and Charlie tended to throw themselves into whatever they wanted to do and do it as fully as possible and it would be typical of them not to make a fuss but just to hurry the thing along and get it out of the way. Con did have other ideas of her own, but she held her patience to see if they would be confirmed or not.

Into the midst of this arrived Joey and Len, with Reg and George very much in tow. Prior to their arrival, Albert had been pleased to note that Con was happy to spend most of her free time browsing wedding catalogues or sewing, for she had promised to make all three bridesmaids' dresses herself, if she was sent the measurements, but even just doing her own was proving to be complicated when she would grow even more before the wedding. It was nothing physically strenuous, though, and he was easily able to make sure that she kept her stress levels down by reminding her of the baby – who, from its kicking, could quite well remind her itself!

It took every effort Con had not to let them in on the wedding secret, especially when Joey found a wedding magazine which had somehow been overlooked and left in the guest room she was using, but it was rather hastily explained away as just something for an old friend whom she'd met after university – not quite a lie, as Charlie was an old friend, and she had known of her after university. But excitement was tangible in the air, and even George picked up on it.

It must be noted in passing that he was enjoying the holiday immensely. At first he'd been inclined to be fractious from the long journey, and having to share the backseat with Joey, who'd resolutely snored her way through the entire drive, as well as naturally shy of someone he barely knew, but once Con had finished spoiling him he was won over to her for life. Pre-warned by his former colleague, Albert had spent one afternoon going through the house and locking in the study anything of any value that a toddler could get his hands on. As the door was kept very firmly locked for the two days that they were there – Reg's aunt wasn't far, and so they stayed the second day right up to late afternoon – he was allowed otherwise free access to the house, including the garden that far outdid Len's own.

What little time the family of three could spend with them was mainly spent relaxing in the house, as Con said she felt too big to move otherwise, with Len and Joey insisting on doing all of the work and cooking meals. They were to stop again on their way back and collect Joey, who lamented long and loud that she couldn't be in the country for longer, and generally made Con feel quite glad to be away from Switzerland and very sorry for Len. She loved her mother dearly, though wild horses wouldn't have dragged it from her, but as two very deep, private people, they did tend to clash more often than Joey did with either of the other triplets.

Evidently Charles and Charlie stuck to their plan of telling everyone, for Joey received a phone call from her son the same night that Len would be staying with them, to say that he was planning on getting married in the very near future. The combined excitement of a second grandchild and another wedding in the family rather got to her, and Con was to be heard muttering to Albert that if Jack was there he would probably have dosed her. It was something of a relief when she decided that she must have an early night, excusing herself on the grounds of a headache, and leaving the two prospective parents to cuddle up alone for a little while.

Author:  Mona [ Wed Apr 21, 2010 3:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

I can just picture Joey's excitement! Thanks Ariel.

Author:  PaulineS [ Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks Ariel.

Author:  cal562301 [ Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

That was lovely. Thanks, Ariel.

Author:  Abi [ Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Lovely, thanks Ariel! :D

Author:  La Petite Em [ Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Lovely to see Joey taking a back seat for a change! :twisted:

Author:  Fiona Mc [ Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks, that was lovely

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

I'm sorry that this has been so dull at the moment! Hopefully things will start to pick up soon.

- X -

With all of the excitement beforehand, the wedding seemed to be upon them before they knew it. One morning Con woke up and realised that, as well as being nearly eight months pregnant, the next day would see the wedding of her younger brother. Curling an arm around the now huge bump that protected her baby from harm, she sat up slowly in bed, nearly groaning as pain from her back kicked in. She was in almost permanent agony, now, though she gritted her teeth and smiled for what it meant, and she could only think what a day in the car would do to them. She and Albert had been forced to get rooms in London at a hotel, as they wanted to stay for the whole wedding and Charles' house was full up with Charlie's family, but Joey and Jack had offered to pay for them to have the best possible rooms, so that Con would have a decent bed to sleep in. All that needed to be done was get there, though several hours in a car was daunting, to say the least.

Looking across, she spotted out of the corner of her eye an envelope which she had left on the bedside table, with the intention of reading the contents before she went to sleep. The plan had been ruined by her zoning out almost before she hit the pillow, but given that it was only six am and Albert could reasonably have another hour before she woke him up, she picked it up and then slid out of bed. Getting away silently would have been impossible, but Albert, assuming she was only going to the loo yet again, simply grunted a little and turned over, hunching the duvet around his shoulders. Smiling to herself, Con took her leave.

Without even thinking about it, she went to the nursery to read her letter. The room looked so different now, for Joey and Len had brought with them decorations and toys for it, as well as clothes to fill the chest of drawers in the corner, and with Albert's home made wooden furniture, the polished floor and the dainty set of blankets made by Con and stacked in the corner of the cot, it had a homely air, lived in, as if it was just waiting for a baby to arrive to bring it to life. Settling herself in the rocking chair, having turned on the dim lamp that lit the room, she tore open the envelope and withdrew the one sheet of grimy paper, that she knew was all that she could expect from her sister.

To Con,

My dear, what simply wonderful news, you've quite taken my breath away! I have, of course, told all the other nuns, and they've promised to pray for you, as am I, all the time. Naturally, everything will be just fine, and in a couple of months you'll be wondering what you ever saw in children, but I know what a comfort prayer can be at times and I'm sure that you need it now, more than ever. In the unlikely event that there is anything I can do, please do let me know. Some of us are to be sent very near to Europe soon – exact location unknown, but within travelling distance for all you folk, I should think – so I'm going to do my best to get on that, and you must promise to come and visit me with my niece or nephew as soon as possible!

I heard from Auntie Rob recently, she says that she's doing well and apologises for not writing to you. It takes her all her letter writing time just to keep up with Auntie Madge and mum, so she says that apart from for me she always just sends messages through them, but she asked me to let you know in case they hadn't reached you yet! And guess what; I'm to have a visitor soon! Mike wrote to say that his ship is doing a one-off tour round this way, while they repair another ship, and that his captain's promised him a couple of days off to come inland and meet me. Not quite as exciting as yours, I grant you, but out here it's like water in a desert!

Better sign off; Sister Agnes is horribly ill, and we're having to tend to her round the clock, but things aren't looking good. Sister Elizabeth has been preparing us for the worst, reminding us of what awaits us all in heaven and leading the prayers every couple of hours. It's my turn to sit with her, though there's so little we can do; still, as futile as it is, there is a bizarre comfort in being able to just sit with her and help to try and keep her clean, and we've been given permission to do so during our off time.

Please send pictures as soon as the baby arrives! I want all the details; sex, weight, birthday etc. Don't let him forget his Auntie Margot, will you, even if she can't be there to hold him quite yet. All my thoughts and prayers with you and Albert – and the little one! Hope this finds you safe and well.


Finishing with a sober thought for what Margot must be going through, and knowing how close she was to Sister Agnes thanks to all the mentions of that worthy person in other letters home, Con tucked the paper back into the envelope and said a silent prayer. That done, she found herself feeling better, and realising what the time was. If they were going to leave and still get to the hotel in decent time they would have to hurry, and so tucking the thought to the back of her mind, she stood up, then promptly bent over as the baby kicked in protest.

“The sooner you come out the better,” she said menacingly, but she smiled and stroked her stomach nevertheless. Her mother had told her that the last month was the hardest, just waiting for a little person to appear in your arms, but she hadn't quite believed it before now. Already starting to organise what she would need to do, she went to wake Albert up, so that they could start final preparations for the wedding.

Author:  cal562301 [ Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

This is lovely, Ariel and not at all dull. If interesting = bad news in any shape or form, then I'll opt for dull every time! :lol:

Good to see a snapshot of Margot's life too.

Thanks for the update.

Author:  Abi [ Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

*happy sigh*

As long as the picking up doesn't involve any tension or misery! :wink:

Author:  2nd Gen Fan [ Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Lovely for Con to have a letter from Margot, I hope everything keeps going smoothly for her.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

To say that Charlie was nervous would be an understatement. Running her hands once again over her stomach to smooth out any wrinkles and make sure that her dress was perfect, she glanced again in the mirror, hastily re-pinned a stray curl and then looked around at the women assembled beside and around her. As it had been something of a rush to prepare, her dress was second hand, the same that her mother had worn for her own wedding, and it didn't quite fit, though Con and Debbie had spent the morning trying to sew it up – Charlie confessing quite frankly that she had never been expert at it.

All the same, she looked stunning, in a shy way that Con had never seen before but which enhanced her beauty even more. The normally troublesome locks had been tamed, and the struggle that had been only she and Con would ever know, and bunched up on her head so that they formed a rough bun, with many curled ends floating around her shoulders and down her neck. They'd even persuaded her to wear a little make-up, though she usually spurned it and had insisted on sending Eliza down to the kitchen, where the men were waiting to leave, to warn Charles not to get used to it because it wouldn't be happening again soon, and it just highlighted her face without making her look radically different.

Put together they really did make a fresh party. Alice, who Con and Albert had met for the first time, looked much older, and rather weary, which Con could see was bothering Charlie. So far, however, she had said nothing, and her mother was smiling more than anyone else in the room, wrapping her arms around her daughter and exclaiming periodically that she couldn't believe that it was her little girl who was going to get married. Thankfully there was no chance for her to get emotional, for Eliza would promptly roll her eyes while Debbie replied in a scornful tone that Charlie was anything but a little girl now.

At long last, so it seemed to the waiting crowd, the wedding march was struck up. They'd been unable to get anything grand, but it didn't seem to bother the happy couple, and they were quite content with the simple church in the middle of the big city that had been able to book them in at such short notice. Even over the thundering chimes of the organ the traffic could be heard, but all present seemed determined to block it out, and it certainly wasn't going to ruin such a big day.

Together, the gaggle of women walked down the aisle, Charlie gripping at her mother's hand, with Con right behind her and Debbie and Eliza bringing up the rear. As soon as they reached the alter they peeled away, Con sitting on a bench next to Albert while Alice filled the front row with her other two daughters. Other than that, nobody had been able to make it, and the church looked sparse and empty, so that the vicar's voice echoed throughout as he began the service.

“Remember ours?” whispered Con, as they half-listened to all of the preliminary speeches. The baby was really misbehaving, kicking her repeatedly, as well as which she could feel a craving for tea coming on. It had plagued her throughout her pregnancy, to the point that she would drink ten cups and upwards over the course of a day, and yet she could no longer stand even the smell of coffee. Coupled with this, the pews were making her backache much worse, and she could feel a headache coming on.

“I remember you sending Len to tell me that you couldn't go through with it because I'd hate you forever and never, ever want to look at you again,” he retorted in an undertone, looking straight ahead as the vicar glared at them. Luckily, Con's only response was to kick his shin, so that while he held back a howl of pain she smiled sweetly and immersed herself in the service.

Perfectly, Charlie and Charles repeated their vows, grinning at each other the whole way through and never having looked happier. Their eyes sparkled and it was clear just to look at them how madly in love they were. For Con it was a wonderful moment, to see her younger brother and her good friend – for that was what Charlie had become over the years – so happy, and at the same time to remember her own happiness thanks to the life that she could feel wriggling inside her even as they sat there.

As all good things must, it soon came to an end, and the wedding party made it's way up the church, Albert producing bags of confetti for Debbie and Eliza at the last second so that they could see the couple off in style. Charlie's family would stay another night with them, but Albert and Con would have to leave soon, and with this in mind it had been decided that there would just be a few drinks back at Charles and Charlie's house after the service. The wedding was the most important part.

They split into two parties, not able to even pause on the porch as the next set of guests filtered in, and climbed into one of the cars, Charles behind the wheel in one and Albert in the other. Con joined her husband, with Debbie and Eliza in the back, and while the two younger girls were involved in a fierce argument about something that had happened three days ago and they were forced to stop at traffic lights, she lay his hand over her stomach, so that he could feel how fiercely the baby was kicking.

“I hope that they can be as happy as us,” she whispered, and was rewarded with a silent kiss, that Eliza was thoroughly disgusted by, as she soon let them know.

Author:  cal562301 [ Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Lovely scene, thanks Ariel. Good to see everyone so happy.

Author:  PaulineS [ Fri Apr 23, 2010 3:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks Ariel. Pleased to see Charles and Charlie married. Wibbling that Con will not get home before the baby comes.

Author:  Abi [ Fri Apr 23, 2010 8:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

What a lovely wedding - just right for Charles and Charlie.

Thanks, Ariel!

Author:  Lesley [ Sat Apr 24, 2010 7:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

That was lovely - pleased for Charles and Charlie.

Thanks Ariel

Author:  jmc [ Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks for such lovely wedding Ariel. Simple is sometimes best.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Sat Apr 24, 2010 5:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thankyou for all the lovely comments :D Have another happy update!

- X -

The drinks afterwards proved to be a lovely time for all concerned. Charlie was positively glowing with happiness, and would glance down at her left hand every few seconds where a tiny gold ring nestled. They weren't rich, though Charles had recently made some investments that his father had recommended and which were starting to pay out, and so it was the most basic of jewellery, but for Charlie it was absolutely perfect. Meanwhile, the groom wandered around, half in a world of his own and half jubilant so much that he had to keep shaking Albert's hand, then beaming at Alice, or pulling Con into a hug.

“A toast!” he announced at last, raising the glass of champagne in his hand. It had been the wedding present from Con and Albert, with another from Alice, as all that the couple asked for. As they pointed out, they had everything that they needed already, but that if possible they wanted to make it a really good party.

“To the happy couple – may they long be so!” proposed Con, waving her own glass of orange juice in the air and nearly tipping it over Albert in the process. He steadied her hand hastily, but then joined in the toast, so that the room was filled with the sound of chinking glass.

“Now,” he continued, once they'd all drunk deeply. “As best man, I believe that it's my duty to make a speech? I didn't have anything planned, because I thought that if I needed to write down what I know about Chas and Charlie by this stage, I'm probably not doing very well. However, that doesn't mean that I don't know what I want to say.

“Firstly, I wanted to congratulate you both, you make a wonderful couple – though I must say, Charlie, that you're an incredibly beautiful young woman and you could have done much better!” He paused to let Con hit him while the rest laughed, and Charles slipped an arm around his wife's waist, before he continued, “To be serious, it's obvious that you make the perfect couple, and I think that we would all wish you the greatest happiness, which is no less than you deserve. I'm proud to say that I couldn't be happier than when I'm with Con, and if I could give that to you too then I would in a second – but I don't need to, because you have it already.”

He stopped there, which was possibly just as well, for Con, hormonal thanks to her pregnancy, had actually started to cry, though she sniffed and waved a hand at them to ignore her. It was too late, however, and even as Charles came over to pull her into his arms, Albert rested her head against his shoulder and Charlie pressed a clean handkerchief into her hands.

It proved to be the end of the speeches, for which Albert expressed due thanks, as he had meant to end it there anyway. Once they'd calmed Con down, the party broke up, Alice and Charles discussing some point of politics, to do with a bill that he'd been involved in the progress of recently, while Charlie admired her two younger sisters in their bridesmaids dresses. Having satisfied himself that his wife really was all right, Albert betook himself into the conversation on politics, and soon got embroiled in an argument with Alice about healthcare in the country.

Meanwhile, seeing that Con was alone, Charlie wandered over, stopping with Charles for a few moments to murmur something to him and then kiss him, and sat down next to her sister-in-law. There was an amiable silence between them, no words were needed. During their time at university, Charles and Charlie had seen a lot of Con and Albert, and they were perhaps closer to each other than to any of their other siblings, though in a very different way. The three eldest boys, like the triplets, would always share something special; but Con and Charles saw each other a lot, and would count themselves and their spouses as friends, as well as family.

“Looking forwards to the baby?” asked Charlie at last. Over the raucous noise of Charles teaching Debbie and Eliza how to do magic tricks, they could talk without being disturbed, though her eyes flickered over the room constantly, as if she was nervous.

“I can't wait,” smiled Con softly. “Neither of us thought it was going to happen, ever, and of course we're still scared in case something goes wrong, but here I am. Look. Eight months and still pregnant. It's like a miracle, I just – can't believe it, somehow. Something must go wrong soon.”

“No it mustn't,” said Charlie quickly. “Just by looking at you, you can see how healthy and happy you are. When the baby's born, it's going to be one of the luckiest children ever. You'll make fabulous parents, and -”

She broke off suddenly, but there was mischief in her eyes that hinted at something deeper. For a moment, Con was very tempted not to ask, and let her stew in her own juices for a while, but as Charlie had guessed it would curiosity got the better of her, and she demanded,

“What's up with you?”

“Ssh,” cautioned her sister-in-law quickly, then added in an unnecessarily loud voice, “Come on, I'll show it to you.”

Grabbing at her hand, she tugged Con up and out into the hallway, shutting the door firmly behind them and pulling her upstairs. Once they were on the landing, she must have decided that they were safely out of eavesdropping range, for she stopped, then said in a sudden rush,

“Promise not to tell anyone what I'm about to say, nobody can know yet.” Guessing what was coming, Con gave her solemn promise, grinning the whole time. She'd guessed the reason for the wedding straight away, and now she waited for it to be confirmed. “I'm pregnant.”

And Charlie triumphantly laid Con's hand over her stomach.

Author:  cal562301 [ Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Aw, so happy for Charles and Charlie. They'll make great parents, as of course will Con and Albert.

Please keep the happy updates coming, Ariel.

Author:  Abi [ Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

I did wonder whether that was the reason for them getting married so suddenly. :D

Yay - they will have such cute babies!

Author:  Lesley [ Sat Apr 24, 2010 7:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Knew it! Lovely wedding.

Thank you, :D

Author:  Fiona Mc [ Sat Apr 24, 2010 9:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks Ariel, this is wonderful. I wondered if Charlie was pregnant too. Am wondering if Con's increasing back pain is her going into labour?

Author:  jmc [ Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Yay for Charlie and Charle!!! :D

Thanks Ariel

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Sun Apr 25, 2010 12:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

...*runs quickly away*

How she managed to keep it to herself, Con would never be quite sure, but somehow she retained an excited squeal and replaced it with a long, hard hug and a tiny jig of excitement – as much as one could jig when one was twice one's normal size and protruding somewhat at the front. But she was overjoyed, to say the least, and couldn't stop herself from beaming for the rest of the occasion. She knew as soon as she met his eye that Albert had guessed what was up, though he was tactful enough not to mention it, and if anybody else suspected anything they must have put it down to the wedding and her subsequent emotions.

“We just wanted you and Albert to know that the baby will have someone to play with,” explained Charles, when Con managed to get him alone for two minutes on the pretext of exchanging some family messages that nobody else would be interested in; it was a well known fact that more was said through messages than directly in the Maynard family, now that they were so scattered to the winds. “It could almost be any day now that yours comes, and so we thought you'd understand how exciting it is.”

“You aren't just marrying her because of that, though, are you?” asked Con. She knew the answer, had known all along since she guessed at Charlie's probable condition, but she felt that she needed to make sure all the same.

“Don't be silly,” scoffed her younger brother. “Charlie and I were always going to get married, you know that. I knew that the first time that I brought her home and got to see her introduced to mum – I still remember that! I won't lie and say that this isn't exactly a great time, but she knew that we'd end up together in the end. I just wanted to be able to provide for my family before they came, but money isn't everything and we'll be happy whatever happens.”

“Oh, I'm so proud of you,” she choked suddenly, and promptly burst into tears, which made Charles laugh. Even when she protested that she was just trying to take on Joey's role in proceedings, as the lady in question couldn't be there, she was teased, and she soon managed to regain her composure. It was perhaps just as well, though, that Albert had decided that they'd better leave; the rain which had drizzled against the glass since they got to the house was picking up more and more, and it looked like being a difficult drive home.

As soon as they were alone in the car, he pumped Con for all the details, though she could really tell him very little. They managed to guess roughly at the age of the baby – if it could be termed such – however, and both said how well Charlie had looked, and how happy. It was the happiest of circumstances that had brought them together, and it added something else to the wedding that hadn't been there before.

Driving was difficult, Con could tell, even though she drifted in and out of sleep for most of the journey. It was a precious commodity that was hard to come by at the moment, and as the baby seemed to have decided to get some rest as well she took the most of the opportunity to let the rhythmic rocking of the car soothe her into sleep. At one point they got stuck in a very slow moving trail of traffic that stopped frequently, and she awoke to talk to Albert, but she soon drifted back to her dreams again.

Because of this she missed Albert's tense expression as he crawled along. The rain was torrential now, so that he couldn't see out of the windscreen to the end of his bonnet, and the roads were dreadful. Almost everyone had slowed completely, but whatever had caused the jam further up was evidently clearing for they soon started to speed up again. People shot past him at some points, so that he wanted to shout at them for the danger that they were, but there was nothing he could do except concentrate on keeping his own car safe.

The other thing playing on his mind was when Con woke up properly. They were still a long way from home, and though she wouldn't be quick to start complaining, he knew about her bladder, her bad back, and numerous other ailments she would soon be conscious enough to appreciate. The sooner he could get her home, the more pleased he would be; if he'd known just how bad the weather would get, he would have begged room at Charles and Charlie's house for the night, or at least a nearby hotel or similar, until the storm had passed over.

Occasionally he would steal a glance at his sleeping wife, hand over her stomach, unaware of the rude awakening that she was to get, but most of the time he was forced to concentrate on the road. It was particularly difficult with the convergence of another road at this stage, and with no lessening in the rain he slowed considerably to make sure that he could see what he was doing. This proved to be his downfall.

The car behind, impatient to be past him, threw all caution to the winds and started to pull out, as if to overtake. Seeing this, Albert slowed again, wondering at the stupidity of some drivers, and attempted to pull back out of its way. Something must have been in front of it, though, and whoever was driving failed to check their mirrors properly, for they attempted to pull back in. Those seconds slowed down to almost nothing, for Albert, as he realised what must happen. The front of his car crunched under the impact, a sound that would never leave him, metal grinding together as the other car slammed its brakes on. The damage was done, however, and as the steering swung from under his control he felt his side of the car leave the road.

Momentarily, it teetered on the brink, then, even as Con started to truly awake, it slammed heavily onto the roof, wheels still spinning frantically in the air.

Author:  Lesley [ Sun Apr 25, 2010 12:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Norty person! :lol:

Author:  ivohenry [ Sun Apr 25, 2010 1:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Oh no! More please quickly, don't leave us teetering on the brink like Con and Albert!

Author:  Liz K [ Sun Apr 25, 2010 3:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:


:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:


:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

She can't lose the baby, not now!

:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

Author:  cal562301 [ Sun Apr 25, 2010 3:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Ariel, how could you? :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

Please come back quick and make it all right for Con and Albert. They deserve it after all they've been through.

Author:  Abi [ Sun Apr 25, 2010 4:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Ariel! :hammer:

Get back here and save them or I might just have to kill Jack...... :twisted:

Author:  PaulineS [ Sun Apr 25, 2010 5:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Ariel please come back and safe Con and Albert

Author:  shesings [ Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

:cry: :cry: :cry: :shock: :shock: :shock: Oh no! Ariel, how could you!!!!!!!!!!

Author:  cestina [ Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Well let's try to look at the bright side - at least Albert is a doctor though delivering your own baby upside down in a car is perhaps not the best way to do it.

Ariel - come back quickly! This is not good for my blood pressure :(

Author:  La Petite Em [ Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:
Speechless. More soon please?

Author:  Fiona Mc [ Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

The only thing giving me hope is that Con was sleeping and she is 8 months along, so both, hopefully won't be too badly injured.

Author:  jmc [ Mon Apr 26, 2010 9:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

You're very lucky that you have run away Ariel. I hope you are hiding well for if you make Con lose the baby now i think you will have a lot of people coming after you. Don't let anything bad happen to Albert either.

:shock: :shock: :shock:

Author:  2nd Gen Fan [ Mon Apr 26, 2010 10:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Don't leave us in suspense - please get right in there and save them!

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Around them came the sounds of brakes being slammed on, cars skidding, even another thud, but thankfully all other travellers managed to avoid their car somehow. It meant a very near miss for one man, though he was also the first to stop his engine and jump out, to rush over the vehicle. The other driver had gone already, as had many people driving past; most cars had stopped, though, and already the queue was forming behind them. All of this registered as he ran over to the vehicle on its roof, to try and scout around it and find a way in, not sure if the people inside were even alive or dead.

In actual fact, not only were both alive, but Albert was relatively awake. He had been dazed for a few seconds by the impact, but apart from a gnawing pain that warned him he had cut his head – quite badly, judging by the trickle of blood down his cheek – he couldn't feel anything else wrong. Medical training kicking in instantaneously, he glanced across at Con and, when he met her eyes, ordered her to cover her face and stay still. The only thing to be done was to get them out; how, he didn't know, but somehow it must be done. The car couldn't be righted without causing more damage, and the fear in his heart for the baby chilled him to the bone.

Gingerly, he tried moving, and when no broken bones made themselves readily apparent he undid his seatbelt and slid backwards from his seat as best he could. He would have liked to shrug off his jacket to further protect Con, but there wasn't room in the limited space, and he was having to lie so awkwardly just to get in the position he needed to carry out his plan. There might have been better, safer ways, but nothing suggested itself to him, and every instinct that he had was telling him to run.

Making sure that Con had turned her face away, and lain her arm over it, despite hunching over further in a vain attempt to protect the baby, he raised himself off of his back slightly and kicked out, shattering the windscreen glass. A shout from outside reached him, but without replying he kicked again, spraying glass over the two people inside, though for a miracle neither was injured. One more would have finished the barrier completely, but the hole he had created was letting rain pour in, blinding them and forcing him to turn away. Besides, there was the danger that the windscreen would shatter inwards, it would be better not to try.

Groaning, he managed to pull himself up again, then he lent over his wife. She was ashen, crying silently, and shaking all over, but she was alive, and he could only conclude from her silence that there was no pain from the baby. It was impossible to tell, however, and it might be dying even in those few precious seconds. Using the pain from that thought to spur him on, he leaned up and started to claw at the glass with his hands.

At first all that registered was the sharp agony as the glass cut into him, and the blood that quickly coated his fingers; but this way he could keep the worst of it off of Con, and almost as soon as he started willing hands from the other side of the window began to tear away large chunks of glass as well. There was an urgency to it all, and though it felt like a lifetime it was barely minutes before those hands were reaching through to pull at his wrists and help him out. Con should have gone first, he knew that, but he was closer and there was no room for manoeuvre around the seats. Stopping only to kiss her, a silent promise that she wasn't alone, he let himself be hauled until he could crawl.

Outside in the rain it was nearly impossible to see, the storm prowling around them and the high wind whipping away even their shouts so that communication was difficult. Somebody helped him to stand up, and tried to lead him away, but he pulled back, his mind on Con.

“My wife,” he yelled; it was enough. Those firm, gentle hands still pulled at him, forcing him to step back from the car, but his unnamed rescuer was already crawling back under to help out the second person. Time hung heavy as he waited, his heart in his mouth, body frozen in shock. It was a woman behind him, dimly her voice reached him through the fug of disbelief that this could have happened when they were so happy. Something in him presumed that it was her husband who was currently under the wreckage of the car, holding Con's life and the baby's in his hands. Never before had Albert felt so powerless and scared, never had he heard the beating of his heart so clearly.

More shady figures lurked in the background, saying things about someone being turned back to the nearest town to fetch the police, but Albert ignored them all, his eyes focused on the car, and on Con, willing her to escape, praying that he could hold her again. Slowly the realisation dawned that it shouldn't be taking this long, that something must be wrong, but even as he started to fight back against the bonds around him, trying to shrug the person off, two feet appeared from under the car, crawling backwards, to reveal themselves as the man who had dashed in. Just behind him came a set of hands – bruised and scratched, but moving independently.

Con had certainly seen better days. Her large bump had forced her to drag herself sideways from the car – there was no other way for her to fit through the windscreen and the space under the bonnet, and even then it had been a very narrow thing – and afterwards she would recount with a shudder that she felt as if she was being squeezed through a tube. Her body ached from the exertion, and it would take weeks for the resulting bruising to subside; she was, however, alive.

Author:  cestina [ Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Phew! And babies are tough little things once they make it that far through the pregnancy so fingers crossed......

(It's more than your life's worth Ariel..... :wink: )

Author:  JellySheep [ Mon Apr 26, 2010 12:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Golly, gosh! I'm glad that Con and Albert have got out of the car, but I'm still wibbling about the baby. I do hope it's going to be all right - there has already been enough going wrong!

Author:  PaulineS [ Mon Apr 26, 2010 12:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks Ariel for getting them out of the car. Keep Con and the baby safe now.

Author:  cal562301 [ Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Very happy Albert and Con are safe. But still wibbling a bit about the baby.

Please come back and rescue him/her soon!

Author:  Liz K [ Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

cestina wrote:
(It's more than your life's worth Ariel..... :wink: )

Oh yes, indeedy!!!!!!!

Please let the baby live and be all right.

Author:  La Petite Em [ Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

I am so glad that Con and Albert are safe... but please can the baby be ok too?

Author:  Abi [ Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Very glad they are both alive.

Thanks Ariel. :D

Author:  linda [ Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Please let the baby be alright. At this stage it shouldn't be too small if it has to be delivered now, but hopefully not out in the rain!!!

Author:  Lesley [ Tue Apr 27, 2010 6:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Just hoping all is well - and glad both Albert and Con had their seat belts on - in the Sixties it was not always the case.


Author:  2nd Gen Fan [ Tue Apr 27, 2010 10:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thank goodness Con and Albert are safe. Now please let the baby be safe as well!!

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

As soon as she stood shakily up, the hands released Albert, and he was able to bound forwards and drag her into his arms. This was just as well, for she was shaking all over, and it was all that he could do to support her weight. There was no thought of moving, however, no thought at all other than that she was safe, relatively unharmed, and that he could hold her again. Something in him had been convinced that this wouldn't be possible, that despite having seen her alive with his own eyes she would somehow be pulled out dead. That she should be here, clinging to him, seemed like the greatest gift in the world at that moment.

Around them people were moving, congratulating the man who had gone in to save her and trying to find blankets, hot drinks, any sort of supplies to look after everyone until the police should arrive. Somebody draped a rug over Con's shoulders – it smelt overwhelmingly of wet dog, but she clutched it to herself nevertheless, grateful for the warmth in the middle of the storm. Her skin was frozen, soaked through, and her clothes clung to her, making her pregnancy even more obvious. Soon, Albert worked up the courage to ask the question that had been terrifying him. Placing a hand over her stomach, he whispered,

“The baby – how -”

“I can't feel anything,” she murmured back numbly. At once he hastened to reassure her.

“That's good, it means that you haven't gone into labour. It was you who got bumped, rather than the baby, it should be fine.”

It was Con shaking her head that stopped him. He was trying to reassure himself, he knew, but he could see that nothing he could say would reassure her; just as she had known, all along, the baby was going to be taken from them. It was because she had spent a whole day without thinking about the awful possibility, had dared to be happy, and dream of it playing in the garden with Charlie's baby, or of introducing it to her family. She shouldn't have tempted fate, shouldn't have believed.

After that, events became rather blurred for both of them. They half-remembered being led to another car, so that they could sit in it out of the rain, though that seemed rather pointless when they were both so wet already, and all that it accomplished was to ruin the interior of a perfectly good vehicle. At some point Albert roused up enough to go around and thank everyone for all their help, and to introduce himself properly. There were three cars whose occupants had come to the rescue, and while one woman stopped anyone else from coming over and getting in the way, her husband had gone hotfoot to the closest police station; there was also the couple who had been first on the scene and pulled them from the wreckage, and the man who had swerved to avoid them, and whose car they were now in. All of them asked after the baby, but it was a question that Albert couldn't answer, and he was grateful to get back to Con.

She was wide awake, sat bolt upright in the back of the car, both arms tight around herself and her baby. She still hadn't felt anything, not the faintest of kicks, Albert could tell just by looking at her face. Until now he'd been so convinced that if Con could be got out alive then nothing else would matter, but now his own heart started to fail him, and he wondered if he ever would get to hold his child, rock it in his arms. But he had to keep faith, because it was that faith that would see him through and keep his baby safe, and when Con started to cry weakly he held her to him. The woman who had held him back, Clarissa, she said she was called, came over and knelt down in front of them, there on the wet ground, and just held Con's hands.

“You'll let us know, won't you?” she asked suddenly, “When the baby's born, I mean, you'll let us know. If it's a boy or a girl, that sort of thing.”

“Anything,” promised Albert at once, doing his best to hold back tears. How he wanted to hug this woman, for her strength and her belief when all else seemed to have failed. “We could never thank you enough for what you did, what you're doing – you didn't even have to stop.” He shook his head in bewilderment.

“Oh, we did,” said Clarissa quickly. There was a vaguely American twang to her voice. “We aren't the sort who'll just see folk in trouble and carry on.”

The police started to arrive, trickling in, first one, then two. They milled around, collected statements, did their best to find a way to unblock the road. At last one came over and offered to take the two to hospital, but Con protested that she just wanted to go home. It was only a junior dealing with them, and he hesitated; driving home the advantage, Albert informed him that he was a qualified doctor, and he knew all the signs to look out for. They had very understanding neighbours, and could get to hospital quickly if they needed to. They really just wanted to be back in their own beds, to relax and start to try and forget all that had happened.

After more persuasion the policeman acquiesced, though given the large cut on Albert's head and Con's condition he looked doubtful. He could hardly go against their will, however, and so he offered to drive them the rest of the way, and they set off. The rest of the journey was uneventful, peaceful even; they sat in the back of the police car, holding each other, waiting to feel the baby move. Albert had taken the address of the couple who had helped them so much before they left, and he twirled the piece of paper round and round in his fingers, pondering on what the eventual news that would reach them would be.

Author:  JellySheep [ Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Oh no. Please can you make this not go in a sad direction? There's already been enough of that! (Though, of course, RL doesn't obey such rules, this is more controllable than RL)

Author:  cal562301 [ Tue Apr 27, 2010 3:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Ariel, pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! A lot of people on here will never forgive you if you let this go bad. Maybe the baby is sleeping? I think they may be less active during a late period of the pregnancy, though it warms up again towards the birth

But I'm no expert, never having had a baby myself!

I don't care if you have to go against medical knowledge, just fix it for them.
And come back soonest to let us know.

Author:  Mona [ Tue Apr 27, 2010 6:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Con and Albert deserve a happy outcome to this. Pleeeeeeeeeeeease Ariel?

Author:  Abi [ Tue Apr 27, 2010 6:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

I hope the baby is ok. After all they've been through to get to this stage it just wouldn't be fair if it died.

Author:  Lesley [ Tue Apr 27, 2010 7:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Hasn't anyone thought to listen for the baby's heartbeat? Albert should know how to do it - or the Policemen or any first aider. Someone please put Con out of her misery.


Author:  Liz K [ Tue Apr 27, 2010 8:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease Ariel, let it be good news.

Author:  2nd Gen Fan [ Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Pleeeeeeeeeease let everything be alright - and don't make us wait too long to find out?

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Wed Apr 28, 2010 11:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

As much as I fear I'm going to be shouted at for this, I must say that this will be the last update for the weekend; my laptop is staying in Bristol while I'm going to Devon, but I will update as soon as possible! I'm sorry!

- X -

In the event, they didn't have long to wait to find out. Once the policeman had reassured himself that he had done everything he could, and that they really did just want to be left alone, he took his departure, armed with their statements. After that there was a long period where they just held each other, not needing to say anything to know what the other was thinking. There still hadn't been the slightest movement from the baby, and even if this was a good sign that Con wasn't going into labour, they couldn't help worrying over it.

At some stage, one of them said something about going to bed, and they obeyed the suggestion automatically. Until that point, there had been no talk between them, of what had happened that day or anything else. The wedding might well have never been, all the joy of the occasion had left them, and they were consoled only with the sickening reality that the baby they had so hoped and longed for might never be. Talk of anything else seemed trivial, but they couldn't put into words their feelings on that, not when it was so raw, so real.

Following a perfunctory shower, Albert climbed straight under the bedclothes, prepared to fall asleep, but Con stopped and knelt down, to say her prayers. It took her husband a moment to work out what she was doing, but when he did he felt a wave of shame creep over him, and he joined her, to say thankyou for their safe deliverance but also to ask that their baby may be saved too.

If sleep was on his mind, however, he wasn't to get it that night. Just as he managed to settle himself into a comfortable position, arms tight around his wife, she bent over, barely suppressing a cry of pain but tears coming to her eyes. Nobody needed to tell him what was happening; without pause for thought, he jumped out of bed and rolled her onto her back, looking deep into her eyes.

“It can't come yet,” she gasped, lying back into the pillow and trying to regulate her breathing. “It's early, it can't come, it mustn't, we must stop it. Say it isn't that, Albert, please.”

“I rather fear that it is, my dear,” he replied sombrely. “In any case, there is nothing that we can do about it now, except hope. I'll go and ring for the doctor; even if it's a false alarm, given the scare that we've had today it would be best to get you checked over. I wasn't going to insist when you were so upset, but -”

“But we should have gone to the hospital and it's all my fault and I've killed the baby and -”

She was broken off by another contraction, forcing her to squeeze Albert's hand so hard that he involuntarily yelped. Dearly he would have loved to stop and help her, but instead he rushed to the telephone, to ring for Dr Peters of the neighbouring district, who had agreed to come and deliver the baby for them. He was little more expert than Albert in the matter, but he had worked for two years in a large hospital which encompassed a maternity ward, and as Albert had seen his wife through a tricky illness the previous winter he had agreed to waive any fee in return. He was the best they'd been able to do in the circumstances.

It was his wife who answered the telephone, though, like any good doctor's wife, she took being woken up in the middle of the night completely in her stride, and just reassured him that Dr Peters was all but on his way out already, and should be with them shortly. In the meantime, she advised him not to panic, but to get a bowl of lukewarm water to bathe Con's forehead and hands, and to try and keep her calm and her breathing regular.

How long the wait for the doctor to arrive seemed, and how much longer the night. By the time Dr Peters joined them, Albert had sung just about every song he knew in an effort to keep Con calm, on top of which he had also had his hand wrung so badly it felt like it had been put through a mangle. Sense enough had kicked in that he got dressed again, pulling on whatever was closest to hand and not exactly looking his best, but it was good enough to make him seem more respectable. He had the nagging feeling that he shouldn't be there, that it wasn't the place for a husband to be, particularly when he'd never seen a baby delivered before, but any thought of leaving Con was unbearable when they didn't know if their baby was to be born dead or alive.

The advent of Dr Peters did little to ease their worry. True, he was an excellent doctor, who talked Con through the birth admirably, but when Albert took him to one side to question him, he just shook his head and said that without knowing more than he did about childbirth he couldn't say. He could make sure that the baby was delivered safely, but it would take specialist knowledge that he didn't have to predict the outcome. If Con was still in labour come morning, he would ring Dr Lincoln and see if he could give them more hopeful news, but he refused to commit himself further.

The exact moment that the baby came, Albert was at the end of the bed next to Con, holding her hand and smoothing back her hair. It had been five, maybe six hours of intense wait, prowling the room, doing what he could and obeying instructions to fetch this or that automatically. Through it all she had lain there in the middle, gasping and screaming, struggling to hold back her overwhelming fear. The sun had come up, Albert had opened the curtains to let more light in, and it streamed across their faces, the doctor still urging his patient on, she writhing on the bed, and Albert, at the side, useless, just waiting an eternity to find out if he had a family or not.

Suddenly, there was a cry that a head was coming, and then, with one final push, Con went limp, her body exhausted. Albert bent over her, cradling her to him, both of them holding their breath. At the bottom of the bed was a tiny bundle of flesh, their baby, that they'd waited so long for. But as they held each other in a paroxysm of expectant grief, there wasn't a sound in the room.

Author:  JellySheep [ Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Noooo! What about slapping it, plunging into cold water and the things they do (or used to - don't know if this still happens) to shock babies into breathing?

Author:  PaulineS [ Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Ariel come back, you can not leave it there for a week end!!

Author:  liberty [ Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

erm... you seem to have forgotten to tell us that the baby's alive. You can't leave it like that for a weekend.

Author:  Mona [ Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

*echoes cries that we can't be left there for a weekend*

Author:  ivohenry [ Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Must be a long weekend, it's only Wednesday. Can't we have just one teeny paragraph before you and your laptop are parted. Just a cry from the baby would do !!

Author:  cal562301 [ Wed Apr 28, 2010 2:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

*Echoes all the pleas for moreeeeeeeeeee!*

We've seen some cliffs in drabbles, but this must be one of the worst. :(

Author:  Lesley [ Wed Apr 28, 2010 5:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Norty Ariel - well done on the cliff - magnificent. :lol:

Author:  cestina [ Wed Apr 28, 2010 7:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Hmm, Ariel clearly has author´s deathwish (never wanting anyone to ever read another of her drabbles again)

I hope she can enjoy her weekend knowing the state she has left us all in!

Author:  Abi [ Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

*refuses to panic*

Obviously the baby is alive, obviously....

Have a good weekend, Ariel. :D

Author:  Artemis [ Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Ariel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Please let it be alive, please
(And a girl :) )

And healthy (and far, far prettier than any of Joey's!)

Please don't hurt my favourite triplet . . . . :cry:

Author:  jmc [ Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Can't quite believe that you have left us there. I also see you are logged on now. Couldn't you have put it on memory stick and taken it with you so you could let us know the baby is all right.

Author:  2nd Gen Fan [ Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Please don't leave us hanging off the edge of the cliff all weekend - you couldn't be so cruel. Could you? :dontknow:

Author:  Len [ Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Wicked child! I've just read the whole way through that and this is how you treat me!? Eh?! Outrageous. Now just you get back here and tell us that everything is ALL RIGHT!

Author:  keren [ Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

I have to say that they are complete idiots not to have gone to hospital

Author:  Len [ Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

keren wrote:
I have to say that they are complete idiots not to have gone to hospital

Yes. What were they thinking of? Albert being a doctor as well, and one who admitted he knew nothing about childbirth. After all the fuss and worry and longing for a baby you'd think they'd have gone straight to hospital from the crash scene, to have Con and the baby checked. AND booked a hospital birth from the outset, as a precaution.

Author:  JellySheep [ Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

You really are all kinds of unprintable things to go away and leave us on a cliff of this magnitude! This is not good for your readers' blood pressure! However, we might forgive you if you come back pronto and tell us the baby is OK.

Author:  cestina [ Fri Apr 30, 2010 11:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Has anyone else noticed that ChubbyMonkey is still posting on other threads but has not been back to this one????????

How dare she show her face elsewhere? :evil:

Author:  JellySheep [ Fri Apr 30, 2010 11:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Yes, the brazen hussy!

Author:  hac61 [ Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Of course she can post on other threads. It's not her brain that she's left behind in Bristol (well...), just the dratted laptop!

hac :P

Author:  La Petite Em [ Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Ariel, you can't do that to us, and to Con! How can you make your main character wait this long? The suspense is too much!

Author:  Abi [ Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Doesn't this give you a great feeling of power, Ariel? :wink:

Author:  cestina [ Sat May 01, 2010 9:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

I guess she is trying to evoke the feeling of a long and difficult labour.....

But it must be time to push now surely??????

Author:  PaulineS [ Sat May 01, 2010 2:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

I do not know which causes me most concern, Ariel's lack of medical knowledge, that this drabble is in St Mildred's House or the length of time the doctor has been left holding the baby since delivery without doing anything!
The baby will be cold and hungry if born alive, and suffering sever brain damage if it has not had taken its first breath!
Ariel has definitely been taking lessons from the Mistress of Cliffs!

Author:  clair [ Sun May 02, 2010 1:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

For once I'm quite glad I've not been here for a week or so as I've caught up with this and shouldn't have too long to wait for Ariel to come back and put Con out of her misery - please? :?

Author:  JennieP [ Sun May 02, 2010 2:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Ariel, I have no idea why you think RL is more important than telling us whether the dratted baby is alive or dead! Priorities, girl, priorities!

Author:  Identity Hunt [ Mon May 03, 2010 8:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Oh my,
I have just found this and read it from start to the evil cliffie. I am now officially a gibbering wreck.....

Please update this soon !

Author:  cestina [ Mon May 03, 2010 12:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

JennieP wrote:
Ariel, I have no idea why you think RL is more important than telling us whether the dratted baby is alive or dead! Priorities, girl, priorities!

Actually I suspect she hasn't yet made up her own mind which is why we are getting nothing..... :(

Author:  JellySheep [ Mon May 03, 2010 12:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Chanting doesn't seem to be done as much as it used to be. I think now would be the time to revive the practice, VERY LOUDLY AND INSISTENTLY so that Ariel comes back pronto and puts us all out of our misery (preferably not by adding to it with bad things happening)! :megaphone:

Author:  lexyjune [ Mon May 03, 2010 1:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, can we have good news soon.

Author:  Lyanne [ Mon May 03, 2010 3:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Tries to remind self reassuringly that both my boys had Apgar scores of 9 at birth becasue they didn't cry and they're both fine now. (Am not convinced by my argument.)

Author:  La Petite Em [ Mon May 03, 2010 5:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

*takes up chant vociferously* Please Ariel, come and update now! :poke:

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Mon May 03, 2010 6:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Well, how can I ignore a chant? Sorry for the delay - was honestly going to post yesterday, then I was needed for something else; but I am now back with my laptop and the update! Thankyou all for reading and being on the journey with me (it's been an emotional one!) and for commenting and posting.

- X -

Slowly, Albert walked down the stairs, his face haggard and suddenly much older than it had been that morning. The doctor had left some time previously, with instructions of what to do next and the promise to visit again once he'd had some rest and made sure that he wasn't needed elsewhere. They weren't an emergency anymore, though, and he'd looked almost as worn out as Con. With the thoughts still pounding through his head, Albert nearly tripped on one step, but managed to right himself and get to the office without further mishap.

He's promised to ring Jack and Joey first, at Con's insistence; they were due back at Freudesheim on the day of the wedding, and should have reasonably settled in by now. In fact, she had thought that they would just be having breakfast, and she wanted Jack to be there when the news was broken to her mother. How Albert had promised, squeezing her hand, unwilling to leave her but knowing that he must. They would be the only ones he rang – they would make sure that the news was spread through the rest.

Almost automatically his fingers dialled the number, without thinking he was soon listening to the ringing of the phone in Switzerland. What he would say he had no idea, just as long as they knew; suddenly, the world was a frightening, unfamiliar place, stripped of everything that had once made it comforting and now sparse, barren. That would soon all change, he knew, and he'd soon accustom to the situation, but just at this moment, with it still so raw, everything was so confusing.

“Hallo,” he said suddenly, as a voice at the other end of the line replaced the repetitive ringing which had lulled him into thought. It was Jack who had come to answer it, as sharp and professional as ever; Albert was thankful, he'd been dreading facing Joey. “It's me. I – we – there's been a development.”

How cold and clinical that sounded, as if no word could truly span the emotional journey that he had been through since they set out for the wedding, such a short lifetime ago. He didn't know what else to say, though, how to express the momentous news that he brought with him. So many times they'd planned the speech that they could give people, but none of the words would be correct, now.

“It's Con,” he managed, but then he stopped again, unable to continue though he could feel the impatience from the other end of the line. “Coming back from the wedding, we – there was an accident. A bad one.”

“Are you both all right?” demanded Jack at that point, clearly unable to contain his impatience any further. Latching on to the fear in his voice, Albert suddenly broke down, the tears coming too easily. Even though the line wasn't brilliant, Jack must have guessed, for he suddenly added, “What's happened, what's wrong?”

“Con's alive,” said Albert, after another pause, trying to order the facts in his mind. “She's fine. Worn out, but – but fine. Just a bit bruised and sore. She – um – she – she went into labour.”

The room suddenly shifted around him, as all the grief and worry of the night broke over him in full, draining him of the little energy he'd had left to get through this call. He just wanted to lie down, wanted to shut his eyes in blissful peace and pretend that it hadn't all happened like this, but it had and he had to try and explain to Jack when all he wanted to do was cry, harder and harder, and keep crying, because in his numbed state that was the only thing that made sense.

“A baby boy was born this morning.” A pause, but he had to rush on with the details. “Six pounds two, blue eyes, blonde hair. We said that if it was a boy it was to be Perciville but we haven't talked since the birth. After the crash, and coming early and – he - “

The whole world stopped as he tried to bring the words that he needed, tried to force into reality what had happened in the vortex of the bedroom just an hour before. Speaking it made it all seem even more certain, somehow, as if it wouldn't change, ever, and he had to exert every ounce of strength he had left not to break down over the phone. He could feel Jack, at the other end, his breath held, the second stretching into eternity as he waited to hear the fate of them all. Mustering himself, Albert took a deep breath, held back his sobs, and whispered the words he'd waited so long to say.

“Perfectly healthy.”

It took him a little while longer on the phone to be calmed down by Jack, the force of his emotions and the tiredness he felt getting to him at last, but once he'd confirmed everything he just said twice, and told Joey himself, he was able to hang up with a sigh of relief. What he wanted now, more than anything, was to lie down and sleep, for as long as possible.

From upstairs all was silence, and he found out why when he went into the bedroom and saw the two forms already asleep in the bed. When he'd left Con had been trying to breastfeed, to satisfy their son – who had proved, if nothing else, that he had a very good set of lungs – but it must have been a success for they were now curled together, the tiny form clasped protectively to her. How perfect it looked from where he stood in the doorway, his wife and their child lying together.

Gingerly he undressed, careful not to make a sound so that neither of them would be disturbed, then slid under the sheets next to them. It felt odd with a third person there, but soon found that he could lie so that his arms were around not just Con but the baby as well, embracing them both and keeping them both safe now. Neither stirred, and so he shut his own eyes, sleep washing over him, knowing that his world was complete at last.

- X -


Author:  cestina [ Mon May 03, 2010 7:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Phew! Thank you Ariel :D

Author:  PaulineS [ Mon May 03, 2010 7:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks Ariel, glad to be off one cliff. Pleased for Con and Albert that the baby is healthy.

Author:  abbeybufo [ Mon May 03, 2010 7:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thank goodness for that!

Knew you wouldn't let us down Ariel :D

Author:  Liz K [ Mon May 03, 2010 7:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thank Heaven for that!

When you said Albert came downstairs looking haggard I feared the worst, but what a relief.

Thank you, ChubbyMonkey, that was some story.

Author:  lexyjune [ Mon May 03, 2010 8:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thank you, that was fantastic.

Author:  Abi [ Mon May 03, 2010 8:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

:D :D :D Oooh, I'm so glad!

*lies down to recover from the tension.

Thanks Ariel!

Author:  shazwales [ Mon May 03, 2010 8:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thank you Ariel that was a lovely ending

Author:  cal562301 [ Mon May 03, 2010 9:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

*Let's out a huge sigh of relief*

Thanks Ariel, for the happy ending. I knew you wouldn't let us down, even if you did keep us waiting! :lol: :roll:

Hope you enjoyed the wedding.

Author:  Mrs Redboots [ Mon May 03, 2010 9:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

I'm glad that was a happy ending! Thank you Ariel.

Author:  KJX [ Mon May 03, 2010 10:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

:bawling: I'm [sniff] so [sniff] haaaaapppy for them [sniff]

Author:  Lesley [ Mon May 03, 2010 10:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Beautiful ending thank you Ariel. :lol:

Author:  La Petite Em [ Mon May 03, 2010 11:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

I think I held my breath the entire time to took me to read that post. Thank-you Ariel, that was beautiful. I'm so glad everything turned out to be shiny and happy!

Author:  ivohenry [ Mon May 03, 2010 11:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks for a lovely ending. Will there be a sequel to this, want to know more about the happy family!

Author:  Kacca [ Tue May 04, 2010 1:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

That was wonderful, thank you Ariel xxx

Author:  Identity Hunt [ Tue May 04, 2010 7:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thank you, Ariel, I really enjoyed every episode of this.
Even the evil cliffie !

Author:  JellySheep [ Tue May 04, 2010 9:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Glorianna! Talk about roller-coaster rides! Still, glad to find out it was all OK, though it's a pity to come to the end.
BTW, what word is pulchritudinous replacing? I thought yesterday it was turning into a miraculous equivalent, but now I smell a rodent...

Author:  Mona [ Tue May 04, 2010 9:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thank you, thank you for the happy ending!

Author:  jmc [ Tue May 04, 2010 9:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks for finally coming back Ariel and getting us off that cliff. Thanks for a great drabble and a happy ending.

Author:  Chatelaine [ Tue May 04, 2010 11:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

I don't normally cry over drabbles, but I made an exception for the final paragraphs of this one. . .

Thanks Ariel, this was really brilliant!

Author:  Fiona Mc [ Wed May 05, 2010 9:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Thanks Ariel, that was wonderful

Author:  crystaltips [ Mon May 17, 2010 12:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Asking for a Miracle - Sensitive subject matter!

Have not been on the board for quite a while so read most of this in one go - finished with tears in my eyes. That was just lovely Ariel, thank you.

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