Gregory listened patiently to Kara, and finally understood what she was going through. He knew Kara was tough, and not the fake façade type some pretended to be where you talk a good game and then cry in private about it. No, the blonde woman knew what she wanted out of life, and didn’t take shit from anybody. She honestly cared about doing good in the world with the resources she had. Kara didn’t want to be admired by many others, but deeply love a handful of people.
Though he was still too unstable to feel guilty for going silent on her, Gregory was just sane enough to realize he needed to make an effort now. What hit him harder than Kara calling herself wife, however, was her admission to being terrified. He hated seeing her unhappy, especially from something he caused.
”DOn’t," he croaked. His hand lifted up to take her own, but before he could reach her fingers he pulled away. He wasn’t ready for her physical touch yet. "YoU don’t have to be scared, okay?" As if he didn’t believe himself, Gregory cleared his throat. "Okay," he repeated.
Suddenly he gagged, and turned away to cough up some blood mixed with saliva. Some dribbled down his chin, and he used the back of his wrist to wipe it away. When Gregory composed himself, he looked back slowly at the woman next to him.
”H-haven’T talked in a while," he rasped. "Throat hurts."
Gregory had so many urges within him when Kara looked back sympathetically. He wanted to touch her stomach and feel their baby — their baby — and brush fallen hair from her face. Gregory wanted to hold Dante on his knee and read him a story like his father used to do; back when a hyper Bovary would slobber on her own hand as Mr. Adebay told the original story of Peter Pan. Most of all, Gregory wanted to be a good father.
He shifted around on the log for a while; unsure of what to say next. “Is it kicking yet?" he asked. His eyes dropped to Kara’s large stomach, and then back up at her face. "Like… have you felt it move? Did Bovary say it was healthy?”
She watched as he lifted an outstretched, hand, and then pulled away before it could actually come in contact with her. The small gesture meant the world to her. He was trying. That’s all she could ask for. Kara gently nodded her head in understanding and encouragement.
His voice was weak, and he was obviously having a hard time controlling it. Once again Kara had to note the amount of discipline to refrain from speaking for so long. Although, in Gregory’s case, it was more of a mental break than anything. Something had snapped within him, no doubt in large part due to Kara herself, and it would be no easy task to coax the man he used to be back to the surface.
But it was a task Kara had decided to take on. She’d be patient. Caring. Selfless. All the things he had so desperately needed in a companion that she had not been before.
”Take it easy.” She smiled, a fond warmness apparent in her gesture. “I don’t expect you to be you again overnight, and you shouldn’t either, Greg.” This was going to be a slow process, and she knew that no matter what she could not rush him. Kara would need to carefully put him back together, and hope that their child would be enough to make the pieces stick.
”Greg, this baby is a kicker. K-i-c-k-e-r.” She let out a small chuckle, her hands coming down on her stomach. “It must be sleeping. That’s the only time It doesn’t trash around.”
”Perfectly healthy, as far as we can tell. No health issues on my side of the family either.” After a moment she sighed, hands still rubbing her stomach. “I’ve delivered a few babies, but never had to be the one to push them out. This is—this is…” She shrugged, letting her words fall off.
”I just never thought I’d be here, you know? I’m not saying I don’t want to be, not anymore, I just thought I’d never have this kind of life.”
With every soft word Kara spoke, Gregory stared straight ahead. He hadn’t flinched when she sat down, nor did he squirm while she talked. The man was just as still as he had been before she arrived to the log. However, that didn’t mean he wasn’t listening.
He wondered if Kara was just lonely, or maybe she was confused. For months he had fought with her to keep the baby; even sleeping next to her in bed back in North Carolina for fear in the middle of the night she’d wake up and try to swallow a Plan B pill. She had pushed him away, demanded everything go her way, fought with his sister, and begged him to leave her be. She was the one who had run away from the mansion, and he was the one who brought her back. Gregory didn’t understand where all of this was coming from. Hell, he thought Kara hated her.
When Kara brought up the word faith, however, he finally looked over at her for the first time in five months. His eyes widened slightly, and both could hear his breath catch in his throat. Gregory felt his mouth dry up, and all of the world faded away. Gregory had wanted Kara to side with him since the day he met her, but she wasn’t grasping his side of the story, even now. It was frustrating him that he couldn’t pin-point exactly what she was missing, but he knew there was one thing about her driving him crazy.
Maybe it was the fact that her idea of family wasn’t like his idea of it. He was going to raise Dante as a Christian not just because Gregory believed in God, but because going through this hellish world without the promise of heaven was too much for anyone to bear. Kara’s tougher, even stronger personality worried him. Gregory feared she would resent him for wanting a different life for his children. He feared she would begin to despise him, and…
That was it. He was afraid she’d stop loving him for the things he couldn’t help.
It took Gregory a moment to collect his thoughts, and his eyes avoided Kara’s for several seconds. He finally looked back up bashfully — as if he were just a child.
”YoU DOn’T uNDErsTand," he said, and his voice cracked. In fact, it made such an awful sound that he tensed up, and grabbed his neck which felt raw. Gregory could taste the blood in his mouth, and he turned his gaze away to collect himself. His lips pursed — anxiety bubbling up in his chest — but he managed to compose himself despite the pain.
He needed to say what had been on his mind for months.
”I’Ve alWAys lovEd yOU. ThAT’s nevEr beeN an ISSue; fiGuring ouT wHetHer oR nOT I LOve yOu." Gregory tried to clear his throat, but only tasted more blood. He was surprised it wasn’t pouring out of his lips. "I thought you hate me. I thought Dallas was only telling me what you told him. That you didn’t want a baby, and I was a monster forcing you to bear a child. I know you didn’t agree with me that the baby needs chance in the beginning. And I know you felt like I was forcing you to go through something. So I decided after Dallas said me being in your life was going to ruin you that you needed your distance from me." Surprised he had made it through several coherent sentences, Gregory felt confident enough to speak just a bit more before throwing up or passing out from his raw throat.
”But I stayed because I made you a PrOMise. That if you didn’t want to take care of the baby, I’d be there to do it once the pregnancy was done." Gregory paused, knowing that there was one more reason he stayed; one that had nothing to do with their child.
”And I stayed because…"
Was Kara even listening at this point? He wasn’t sure.
”At one time I said I loved you. I didn’t mean in a friend’s with benefits way. I didn’t mean a best friends way. I meant it in a wife way."
His throat was aching now, and he put his hand back on it softly. The damn thing hurt, and Gregory began to feel nauseous.
”There’s no way in hell I’d abandon my wife, Kara —"
Just saying her name brought back a flood of emotions. While Gregory still felt like Kara secretly wanted him to stay quiet — at least deep inside her — there was a part of him that didn’t feel like a man anymore.
”I wouldn’t…. I wouldn’t leave… I….”
She was worried that she would forever be the unwanting mother in his eyes. She’d seen Gregory’s look of utter disgust when she first announced she wanted an abortion, and from that point on always held the thought in the back of her mind that he would never believe that she was capable of truly loving their child.
Gregory had not understood her. She had not wanted an abortion, no woman does. No woman wants an abortion as she wants an ice cream cone or a Porsche; She wants an abortion as an animal caught in a trap wants to gnaw off its own leg. It was a survival mechanism, meant to prevent the ending of two lives, not just one. The fact that he had not understood this only reminded Kara how uncompatible they were.
Her comment about Faith had been a last ditch effort to get his attention, and she was more than relived to see that it had worked. She would have been more than discontented if Gregory had remind silent. Hearing his voice for the first time in months was a small comfort, something she had not realized how badly she missed. Knowing that this was difficult, she nearly reached out her hand to grab his own. Unsure of whether that would help or hinder him however, she resisted the urge.
”I didn’t tell Dallas anything that you didn’t already know. I was scared, with good reason to be so. I don’t know why he got it in his head that I needed him to fucking save me from all this, but it’s over now…I want to leave the past in the past, Greg. I thought I had the world figured out, but I’ve come to see that I had a lot of growing up to do these past few months. There were only two options in my mind when I found out I was pregnant, either end the pregnancy or be the best goddamn mother I can be. At the beginning I only ever considered the first option to be possible…and now…I only consider the second option to be possible.”
She sighed, the thoughts that had been filling her mind for so long finally surfacing. It felt good to talk through this, to finally get it all out in the open. “Ruin me? Greg…” She shook her head, finally feeling the bravery to turn towards him and have a direct conversation. “You give me strength, Greg. And I could really use some strength right now..”
For once the word ‘wife' didn't sound so bad coming from Gregory's exasperated lips. She was so, so tired. Tired of fighting. Tired of taking on the world. She just couldn't do it anymore. It was time to be realistic, settle down and make the best with what they had.
”Greg, I’m all out of fight. All I’m focused on anymore is this kid, and making sure things go they way they’re supposed too—which by the way, I have no idea what that means.”
”That’s good to hear then, because your wife is pregnant, hormonal, and pretty terrified of things to come.” She chanced the ‘wife’ comment, hoping that he would see she was serious this time around.
“I destroy everybody who loves me.” — 6 words truth _ A.S. (via panopticlique)
It had been five months. Months of scavenging for new places to set up camp when the old locations were too damp, close to neighborhoods, or discovered by other stragglers. Weeks of Lowery teething on dog chew toys salvaged from abandoned veterinary officers, Bovary hounding Nathan with constant questions about life in general, empty bellies, restless nights and biter slayings. Days of new routines from sun up to sun down.
And Gregory hadn’t uttered a word.
As soon as Dallas had stormed off to Kara — telling her something Gregory still did not know — Gregory had stood up on wobbling legs, and limped to his tent. It was there that he pulled his knees to his chest, tensed his shoulders, and stared blankly ahead. For the first five days that was all he did. Gregory didn’t eat or drink — just sit in the tent without a single thought entering his mind. The only thing that broke that cycle was that he eventually passed out, and when he came to Bovary threatened to take Dante away from him if he didn’t eat anything.
After two more weeks of eating nothing but one meal a day, Gregory began to occasionally help around camp. He would start fires, feed the babies and do laundry. However, he wouldn’t make eye contact with anyone else in camp, nor would he talk.
This was all because he thought Kara needed this. While he disagreed with everything Dallas had said about abortion, the burly man was right about ruining Kara’s life. He always had this picture perfect family in his head; one fueled by love and religion. As the outbreak wore on, however, every encouraging word was flattened quickly by hatred. Kara and him were polar opposites anyways. Despite all the turmoil in his life, Gregory still kept close to his faith while Bovary had strayed far away from it. However, Gregory felt too undeserving to pray anymore. He’d knocked a woman up, left another one behind. He was going to hell anyways.
The fifth month of his silent treatment wore on, and he was much more involved with camp life. Gregory would go hunting with Nathan, and even put down biters. He never spoke to anyone, though. To him, he just thought it would make everything worse. Gregory especially avoided Kara, afraid that even stroking her arm would cause a rash on her skin. She had admitted to him that she was afraid he only loved her because of the baby, so he proved that he could keep his distance after Dallas warned him he’d be her downfall. It wasn’t a look of fear he wore around people, but rather an expression void of any life. Gregory neither smiled nor frowned. Any feeling he had was suppressed; afraid it would infringe on someone else’s life. He was just useful enough to be kept around, but far too gone to be sane.
It was a sticky afternoon when he decided to walk to a group of logs in the middle of the woods, only five minutes away from their new camp. Gregory sat down, completely alone, and stared straight ahead. He was thinking of how everyone would be better off if he just disappeared. Kara could raise a faithless, gunslinger like she wanted to, and Bovary would nurture Dante. His silent treatment would end heroically; him finally removing himself from doing any harm to anyone else.
A twig cracked behind him, and Gregory turned his head to see Kara standing behind him. His expression never changed as he slowly turned his head ahead once more, and inwardly hoped she would just go away.
As the days turned to weeks, and the weeks to months, Kara felt less and less grounded. Gregory had not uttered a word for the past five months, since the fight he had with Dallas. Kara had stopped trying to understand his reasoning after the first few months, focusing instead on Dante and the child growing inside of her. On good days, she’d follow Gregory from a distance—since he refused to be around her—, ensuring that he was at least taking care of himself. She was unsure of what would come of this episode, or if he’d ever come out from it, let alone if he even wanted to.
She’d been strong though, in every sense of the word.
Bovary still held a grudge against her, one that Kara no longer blamed her for or harbored hate because of it. They were civil to each other, but never intentionally crossed paths. Ash and Gabriel were the only ones who bothered to talk to her, and even that was surely mostly out of pity. They were nice enough however, and over time it became easier to pretend that things weren’t as bad as they were.
Dante seemed to be the only person that really noticed her anymore. When Bovary was too busy taking care of Lowry, or fighting with Nathan, and Greg in one of his more antisocial moods, Kara took care of him. Granted she did most of the talking, she finally felt a bond between herself and the child. It was the little things. The way he idly rolled his toy car over her pregnant stomach. How he allowed her to caress his soft hair, no longer bothered by her touch. The little things.
Being lonely was not the only problem Kara had been confronted with the past five months, however. Her body had been undergoing rough changes, and she was usually in some form of discomfort or another. Aches and pains, nosebleeds and dizziness were all a constant reminder of things soon to come. She had told herself there was still time to figure things out. Time to make things better for her child, before he or she actually took their first breath.
But she was out of time.
If she was going to repair her relationship with Greg, and more importantly—Greg himself--she had to do it now. Marching through camp with a placid face, she was anything but. Hormones and emotions were raging, she felt a range of things. Anger. Hurt. Confusion. But most prominently—fear.
She was scared that something would go wrong. She would mess up. That her child would know how reluctant she had been to bring it into the world. However she had managed to convince herself things would be alright before, was no longer having the same effect. She was near panic.
His eyes suddenly finding her own, the sense of composure she had drawn together threatened to decompose. She inhaled sharply and walked down towards Gregory, her swollen belly sticking out ahead of her. She put herself down beside him, careful to look straight ahead. “Sorry. I can’t really stand for very long anymore, my back hurts to much.” She mumbled, hoping he wouldn’t get up and leave.
She tapped her fingers against her stomach, taking a moment before speaking again. “Please, just let me talk. You don’t have to say anything, you don’t even have to look at me. But I need you to listen to what I have to say.” Her voice was strong, determined to prepare the way for their child. The fact that he was still here was a good sign, but she was still hesitant to think that he would listen to her whole piece.
”Dallas was out of line. Way, way out of line. That’s why I told him to leave our camp, and never come back. I don’t care who he was or what we had, there was no right for him to try and mess with my life the way he did. I can only imagine what he said to you, to make you go silent for this long. He was a good man when I met him, at least he was good to me anyway. I suppose I never knew him well enough to say otherwise… What I’m saying is, fuck him. Fuck whatever he said. Because what matters right now, is us. And our child.And Greg, this kid is going to pop pretty soon. You can’t be like—like this. So I’m here. And I’m going to do whatever it takes to help you through this.”
”I want our little family to work Greg, I really do. I know I’ve fucked up time and time again, but it’s too late to turn back. We’re running out of time to figure things out. I love Dante. I love this baby. And I love you. We may not be the best match for each other, but at the end of the day, we keep coming back. If you don’t, I mean, I don’t expect you to—love me anymore, that’s okay. It’s okay if you don’t even like me. But Dante and this baby need you to love them. Greg, you’re a father to both of them, and we all need you right now.”
She said the gist of what she intended to say, but she couldn’t stop—determined to elect a response from him. “I’ve been trying to think of a way to break though to you, but I was so afraid I’d just push you deeper away. I don’t know what to do, I really don’t. You wanted this baby so bad, you wanted us all to be one big happy family, and now I do too. Just tell me it’s not too late Greg, please.” She refused to mention how utterly terrified she was at the thought of the pregnancy, with or without Greg at her side, but if he was actually listening, he wouldn’t miss it.
”Faith. You said we had to have faith.” She mumbled quietly.
rae go away im not gonna answer this just reply to kara already
Gregory was surprised that Kara was caressing his hand, and even more surprised that she stopped in her track altogether. He felt his mouth droop in to a pitiful frown as she let go of his hand, which once again — surprised him. As he listened patiently to Kara decide on their child’s name, he couldn’t help but notice the way her nose curved, and the way her blonde hair didn’t look too bad greasy and unwashed, and how she had extremely faint freckles — most likely sunspots — on her cheeks, and how her voice always sounded slightly agitated, and how she was almost his height, and how he could hear the small breaths she took in between each pause of her sentences, and how she stood so close to him, and —-
"No," he said softly. Gregory’s smile returned, and he tried everything in his power from taking her hand again. "Faith,” Gregory breathed. “Adella Faith Marie Prescott-Adebay. Samuel Faith Evertt Prescott-Adebay.”
He couldn’t help it, and took both her hands shakily.
"Faith because its our miracle baby. Not because you were skeptical at first, and not because I’ve been so obsessive over it that I still haven’t figured why you’ve not ended me." Gregory chuckled softly. "But because it’s growing up in this world, Kara. With so much death. And it is so full of life.” He knew he must have sounded sappy, but Gregory couldn’t help it. He’d always said more than he should have.
Looking down at Kara and not letting go of her hands, he allowed several moments of blissful silence to elapse. The sound of an occasional squirrel emerged from the bushes, but besides that it was absolute silence.
Finally, Gregory cleared his throat and whined, “But Everrt?” And then chuckled again playfully.
She smiled sweetly, slightly embarrassed by the intensity of his gaze towards her. “You wanna give this kid a middle name like ‘Faith’ and yet you laugh at my choice? I mean, I know there’s not going to be many other kids around to pick on him, but I still don’t think that’s the best idea you’ve ever had.” She chuckled back, shaking her head.
Feeling a sudden wetness on her upper lip, Kara wiped a gentle finger under her nose to see what was happening. “Oh shit.” She murmured, taking the finger away to revel a few drops of blood. In the seconds that followed, the bloodflow increased steadily and began pouring from her right nostril. She quickly cupped her nose with her hands looking at Gregory for some sort of assistance.
“Greg, please a rag, anything.” Her tone was more annoyed than anything. Blood never made her uneasy as it did to most, in fact the sight was so familiar that the only effect it had on her was to cause her to worry about getting it all over her clothes.
She wasn’t so sure how Greg would react around the blood, but hoped he would trooper through it anyway.
Nosebleeds are normal during pregnancy. This is okay. She found herself saying repeatedly. This is okay.