“Fear of the unknown is the greatest fear of all.”– Yvon Chouinard
Del Sol Valley The Elysium (Chase, Hailey, Colton and Maddie's home)
Chase watched Hailey walk off, his face clearly reflecting concern.
“Everything all right with you two? She seems off somehow.” Blaine asked.
“Yeah. Sure. Everything’s great.” was his son’s reply, not even convincing himself.
“I give pretty decent advice, you know. I don’t look it, but I am old as dirt, kid. I’ve seen a problem of two in my days. Just sayin’ …” Blaine carefully insisted.
“I know dad. Thanks. Really, thank you. But there’s nothing. We just did a tour, wasn’t the longest or biggest we have ever done, but it was still pretty exhausting, even to Cole and me, we both were totally wiped, and we’re vamps, so I can only imagine how the girls must feel.”
“All righty. I won’t pry and poke, but if you need me, I am always there for you, Chase. ALWAYS. Like – literally ALWAYS and forever. Around the clock. Okay?”
“Thanks dad. I mean it, this really means a lot to me, but everything’s fine. If not, you and mom will be the first to hear, cross my heart. I am a big boy too. 24 years old dad, I can handle some drama myself and you got plenty at home. And before you ask, yes, we are gonna come visit soon.”
As much as Chase tried to ignore the nagging feeling inside, this conversation did stick with him. If even Blaine noticed, who currently had his head and hands plenty full with twin toddlers and a newborn, it meant he hadn’t been imagining things. Hailey WAS acting strange.
A few days later while washing his hands at the sink in his and Hailey’s bathroom, the soap slipped and fell straight into the waste basket, in his attempt to dig it back out Chase found two used pregnancy kits, hidden. They had to be Hailey’s, as this was an ensuite bathroom only they used. Colton was a little much at times, but even he would never just march into their private area unasked, let alone Maddie, and neither would dump stuff like this in here. Never.
Curiously Chase looked at the tests, both showed negative.
Maybe this put her at ease now? Maybe that was why she had been so on edge? He remembered them as teens, still in high school, when she had cut all contact with him after a pregnancy scare. It had been unwarranted then, just like it was now, but even if … who would care? They were married, settled, loved each other greatly, could definitely afford a child, and his career would always be chaotic, waiting for calmer times would be futile. As their band manager, Hailey knew that better than any of them.
Clearly Hailey loved kids. There were so many all around them, by family and friends, she was a natural with them, much like he was. So that wasn’t the issue either. But then what was? Cheating wasn’t it, since they were nearly conjoined at the hip. No. Had to be something else.
While brushing his teeth he contemplated bringing it up with her, but by the time he rinsed for the last time, he had decided against it. If it worried her so much, maybe just letting that sleeping dog lie would be best, even though Chase was a little hurt that she didn’t seem to think she could come to him with her worries, trust him.
San Myshuno Grand Skyview Hotel
Days passed, all four of them were busy with band things … Chase almost completely forgot about it all, until one night he and Hailey were curled up together in their hotel room in San Myshuno.
‘2Dark 2C’ had been invited for some live interviews with TV and radio stations there as part of a small PR tour for their latest single, then tacked on a few days to visit everyone’s families locally.
“Evey is glowing.” Hailey said now, quietly.
“Yeah. And Justin is gonna rub that baby bump off her, if they don’t watch out. I have seen proud daddies before, but he takes the cake. Borderline OCD, and it’s not even their first.” chuckled Chase.
“Do you think you would be a proud daddy? Like Justin? Or like your dad?”
‘Ah, here it comes now. Finally. Showtime! I will show her she can count on me no matter what!’ Chase thought, quickly deciding to lay it on extra-thick so she would know that little baby accidents would never be a problem with him and there was no need to worry or hide.
“Oh, absolutely! I’d be MUCH worse! Probably wear those ridiculous proud daddy t-shirts and all that. The moment that pregnancy test shows positive I’d be making name lists, painting and furnishing a nursery, buying tons of toys and diapers and all that crap, long before you’re even showing. You’d be so embarrassed by me. Ha ha ha!” Chase chuckled, thinking ‘Yeah, that should do nicely.’.
Her reaction surprised him, though not in a good way.
“Oh.” she said quietly.
‘Why does this feel like I slammed the ball straight into my own goal? Yikes.’ he thought horrified, as she now tried to untangle herself from him to get away, but he only held on tighter, until she succumbed to it.
He wrapped his arms around the whole of her, thinking ‘Ok dad, right now is when I could use you. You would definitely know exactly what to say to her, while I got nothing. I am not even clear on the problem here. I just know I best keep my mouth shut before I put my foot in it again!’.
Quietly he just held her, which she allowed, snuggling into his embrace.
Del Sol Valley The Elysium
A few days after they returned home, Colton and Maddie had gone off to run errands together, Chase was sitting at the dining room table working on lyrics, when Hailey dropped a stack of documents in front of him.
He looked up at them, then her.
“More contracts? Can’t Dylan look at that? It’s what we pay him for.” Dylan was Kai’s son and their band attorney.
“No, not these. They are for you, not the band.”
“Me? What do I need a contract for? I am not going solo, you know that.”
“In a way you may be, here. Read.” Hailey slid the papers closer, Chase read the words ‘petition for dissolution of marriage’ then his and Hailey’s full names, when he felt lava in his veins. DIVORCE?!
Jumping up, he faced her.
“What the fuck, Patches?!”
“I am sorry, I don’t know how to do this. I don’t want to hurt you more than you are already going to be. I just don’t know …”
“WHY?! WTF?! Is there someone else? How? We’re practically always together, unless you met him while I was on stage. Patches, why?!”
“It’s not someone, it’s … me. I am broken.”
“I … well … I know we didn’t talk about it, but … I had a pregnancy scare recently .. again …”
“I know! I found the tests by accident. It’s fine! Who cares? So, what if you were knocked up?! Come on now, not like we can’t afford it!”
“But that’s just it, Chase. You didn’t let me finish. When I realized I might be pregnant, initially I thought ‘oh crap!’, then on my way to the drugstore and back home and while waiting for the timer to go off I started getting excited. But it was negative. Both were. So, I went to the gyn, just to make sure since those tests can be wrong. Well, turns out I wasn’t pregnant … and probably never will be. Evidently the pregnancy scare I had back in high school wasn’t a scare at all. I was pregnant, but it was an ectopical pregnancy, which is why it failed and hurt so bad. It left scar tissue and that has grown into something that looks like a tumor. I need surgery, and even if benign, it will make it harder, if not – in the worst-case scenario – close to impossible for me to become pregnant at all, let along ever carrying to full term. In only two days I had gone from hoping it was false alarm to realizing I should have been careful what I wish for … and ever since I have been trying to figure out what to do with that news.” she interrupted briefly, swallowing tears building up, then continued.
“Seeing you with those babies everywhere and hearing how much you want kids, knowing I am probably never gonna … no, knowing that I most likely never will be able to give you that … Chase, I don’t want to lead you on. I can’t be the wife you deserve. I’ll move out as soon as I can get packed and …” Hailey didn’t get any further, Chase had grabbed her hard, pulled her into an even harder embrace.
“Shut up! SHUT UP! Not another word! No. I will never ever EVER agree to this bullshit! Fuck kids! I love you, not your reproductive organs! Are you crazy, Patches?! I am not a fair-weather boyfriend or husband! I didn’t marry you to have kids with you, I married you because I want to be with you. With YOU! Yeah, I like kids, but look how big my family is, we don’t need to add to. I can get all my fill on baby snuggles with my family without all the rough stuff.”
“Chase … I don’t want to lose you … but I love you too much, and I want you to be happy! REALLY happy, not partially happy. You deserve the best, not damaged goods.” Hailey’s tone was a sob as she clung to him like a drowning person to a lifesaver, while her crying tore Chase into pieces.
“Oh my God, Patches! How do you dream nonsense like that up?! You are NOT broken, or damaged or anything like that! You need to quit assuming crap about me and trying to leave me, we had that before, in high school. You trying to dump me is what hurts me the most, not all the rest! I am in for the long-haul, baby! I thought I showed that plenty! Not like we just met. But I need to feel save too, not like I constantly have to be afraid something happened making you think I’d be better off without you. I won’t be. Never. I need you. YOU! Not a kid. YOU!”
“I am so sorry, Gump … it shocked me so badly. I didn’t know what to do! I am mortified of disappointing you! I couldn’t take that look on your face if you found out one day that I would never … there are millions of girls who want you … girls who could … without issue … no ifs, buts, maybes about it.”
“I love you, Patches. And once you calmed down, we are burning that fucking paperwork, got it? As if I let you go through a surgery alone! Can’t believe I have to even say that. And after the surgery, when they know more, THAT’S the time for tears, if they tell us then, after thorough tests and analysis that you really won’t be able to have children. Not now, when nobody knows anything. Right now, all we got is a guess, a maybe. Maybe you’ll be just fine. Maybe it will be hard to conceive. Maybe we’d have miscarriages, and we have to think about if that would be worth the heartbreak to us. And if they say it’s harder for us to conceive, I don’t mind, cos that means extra time between the sheets with you and I am definitely game for that!”
“You’re sweet, Chase. And I am so sorry, I panicked.” Hailey sniffled.
“The moral of this story is, next time you have a problem or think you might, you come straight to me and we figure it out together! It’s what a marriage is for. No more sending Chase off to the pasture in some odd sense of trying to protect me. I don’t need protection, I need you. Okay?!” he said, but she only nodded into his shoulder, fighting back more tears.
He had just managed to calm her somewhat when Colton and Maddie came home, entering laughing and noisily, Chase could see Colton getting ready to say something smart, so he shook his head with a warning expression in his eyes.
Luckily Colton took the hint, but Hailey still ran up the stairs. She wasn’t ready to talk to anyone about anything. Not even as much as a simple ‘hello’.
“What did you do?!” Maddie wondered horrified at Chase, turning to follow her friend up the stairs, when Chase with vampire speed reached her and held her back.
“No. Don’t. Trust me. This is a special kind of screwed up situation and she isn’t ready to share. Just trust me on that, Maddie. She needs to be alone right now. She’ll be okay.”
“Ahem … bruh … you got some ‘spanining to do ….” Colton told him, holding up the stack of documents with the divorce petition …
“Oh shit – that. Ignore it. It’s nothing. False alarm.” Chase tried to explain without saying anything.
“Are you kidding me, dude!? Looks pretty real to me!” Colton was still staring at the document in his hand.
Knowing Hailey wouldn’t want him to share, Chase went to his lifelong best friend, pulled the paperwork from him, and with vampiric strength tore the thick as a phonebook stack into several pieces, which he then deposited back on the table in a nearly neat stack.
“I said it is nothing. It’s nothing. It was a screwed-up misunderstanding, Hailey needs some time to calm her nerves, then we’ll tell you what you need to know. That is all you will get from me, and if you excuse me, I need to go be with my wife.”
Watching him run up the stairs, Maddie leaned up against Colton.
“Please tell me they are gonna be okay …”
“They will be. I know him. Something got them both shaken up, but if he says they will be okay, they will okay. If he says they need time, we’ll give them time. If I had to guess, it’s something medical, cos we vamps don’t really understand that and it usually freaks us out something fierce if it is with a mortal we REALLY care about.” Colton explained with a soft voice.