Charlie & Miley Ch. 02byfrozenhero1©
Haley stared at a painting on the waiting room wall. It was a rural farm scene in pastel colors and she found herself wondering what farmer would paint his barn powder pink. The artwork was terrible and she was curious if the depicted objects were blurry on purpose. Why did all waiting room artwork have to be so terrible? Haley forced her eyes away from it, her head starting to hurt. Jack was sitting next to her, bent forward as he looked down at his lap. One of his knees was bouncing with nervous energy. Both of them were dressed in casual, hastily selected clothes and Haley's long blonde hair was pulled back in an easy ponytail.
The only other person in the waiting room was Charlie, who was pacing back and forth between rows of chairs. His khaki pants were wrinkled, as though they had been lying on the floor for a week, and his white tee shirt had a small smear of blood on it.
"Why don't you sit down," Haley suggested delicately. "You should try to relax, Charlie."
"They've had her for almost an hour," Charlie gestured. "Why did the ambulance bring us to a clinic, and not the hospital?"
"It was the nearest emergency room," Haley reminded.
Charlie pushed a nervous hand through his messy shock of brown hair, "It's almost three in the morning; do clinics even have doctors around at this time of the night?"
"It's an emergency room," Jack spoke up. "I'm sure there are doctors here."
"What if something's really wrong?" Charlie worried, his expression anguished. "What if we lose the baby? Or even worse, what if --"
"Charlie," Jack stood. "Come here, son."
Charlie approached, his eyes reddening.
Haley clenched her hands together nervously as she watched Charlie, wishing there was something she could do.
"You're tired," Jack spoke calmly, placing comforting hands on his son-in-law's shoulders. "Miley will be just fine, the baby too. I'm sure it won't be much longer before -"
A younger woman dressed in blue scrubs and a white lab coat entered the waiting room, "Mr. White?"
Charlie spun, "I'm Charlie White."
"Hi," the woman looked down at a medical chart in her hands. "You're Millicent's husband?"
Charlie nodded anxiously, "Yeah. Um, everyone just calls her Miley. She hates Millicent."
The woman smiled, "I'm Doctor Peterson. Miley is doing just fine, we've got her in one of the private recovery rooms and she's asking to see you."
"What about the baby?" Jack worried.
"The baby's fine too," Dr. Peterson reported. "I'm waiting on a couple of test results, but I don't anticipate any complications."
"Oh thank god," Haley exhaled an hour's worth of anxiety.
Charlie's shoulders relaxed and he closed his eyes, muttering silent thanks.
Miley's eyes lit up when Charlie entered the room, "Hi, baby!" She was sitting up in a bed wearing a hospital gown, eating a cup of pudding and looking as if nothing were wrong in the world.
Charlie quickly moved to the side of the bed, "Hey, how are you feeling?"
"I'm fine," she smiled, setting the pudding on a tray and spreading her arms apart.
Charlie hugged her gently, "I was so worried about you."
"I know," Miley squeezed tightly. "But the doctor said I'm okay, the baby too."
Reaching behind him, Charlie pulled a chair close to the bedside.
Jack and Haley entered the room, resulting in more tender greetings and hugs. Haley in particular lingered in an embrace, relieved Miley was well. The scene warmed Charlie, happy about the fact they had become so close with Jack and Haley. Miley needed her father, whom she worshiped, especially when Miley and her mother were not on speaking terms. They hadn't seen Victoria since the wedding and that encounter hadn't ended well.
"Hi everyone," Dr. Peterson entered the room last. "Sorry to interrupt."
"No problem," Jack said, standing beside Haley on the opposite side of the bed from Charlie. "Do you know what happened, yet? What caused my daughter's bleeding?"
Dr. Peterson asked, "Miley, have you been experiencing any cramping or discomfort recently?"
Miley shook her head.
"Have you been doing anything strenuous, such as lifting or excessive exercise?"
"Nope," Miley replied. "I mostly sit on the couch a lot, lately."
Dr. Peterson scribbled some notes on Miley's medical chart, "Any unusual sexual activity?"
"Charlie and I had sex last night," Miley answered freely, "But that was only unusual because he hadn't been home in over a month."
"Mm-hm," the doctor continued writing.
Miley added, "My husband has a really big penis. Would that make a difference?"
Charlie's cheeks flushed red.
Jack's brows lifted.
Haley lifted a hand to her mouth and stifled a laugh.
"It could," Dr. Peterson maintained a professional demeanor. "During pregnancy, especially during the third trimester, there is an increased blood supply to the cervix and vaginal walls. It's not uncommon for women in to experience harmless bleeding after sexual intercourse."
"What about the way she passed out?" Charlie wondered. "She just collapsed into my arms."
The doctor answered, "My guess is when Miley saw the blood she feared a miscarriage, which is extremely stressful. High amounts of stress can affect a person's blood-pressure and cause them to feint. It's similar to a state of shock."
"I can still have sex though," Miley worried, "Right?"
"Absolutely," Dr. Peterson smiled. "It shouldn't be a problem. You might see some spotty bleeding, but that would be normal."
"When can she come home?" Haley asked.
"We'll want to keep her here for the rest of the night, simply to monitor her vitals and make sure feinting wasn't a symptom of something more serious."
"Thank you, Doctor," Jack squeezed Miley's shoulder lovingly.
"I'll stay with her," Charlie told Jack and Haley, "if you two want to go home and get some rest."
"Oh dear," Samantha stumbled when she rose, reaching out to brace herself against the small round table she occupied with Brian. Empty beer bottles and glasses with melting ice littered the table's surface.
"Whoa," Brian was there to catch her.
The pair were in a San Diego bar, just blocks from the convention center hosting Comic-Con. The place was sparsely lit with neon liquor signs and filled to capacity with convention-goers.
Samantha pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose and grinned broadly, "I think I've had too much to drink."
Brian made sure she was stable on her feet before letting go, "Maybe we should go back to the hotel?"
"I need to pee first," Samantha declared.
Brian chuckled, "Right. Bathrooms are right over here."
Samantha leaned heavily on him as Brian escorted her towards a short hallway containing the rest rooms. He frowned when he saw the line leading into the ladies' room, "Uh, looks like there's a little bit of a wait."
"I can't wait," Samantha told him. "I have to pee really badly."
"Maybe there's a stall free in the men's room," Brian suggested.
"The men's room?" Samantha giggled.
"That's what Miley always does," Brian chuckled, recalling several trips to dance clubs with his best friends where Miley would simply circumvent any separation of the sexes.
"Sure," Samantha shrugged agreeably, curling an arm around Brian's neck and hanging against his shoulder.
Brian pushed the men's room door open and was relieved to see only one other person, washing his hands at the sink. He wrapped an arm around Samantha's waist and led her towards one of the toilet stalls in the back of the bathroom.
Samantha was dressed for their earlier meeting in a pair of professional black pants and white buttoned blouse. She unbuttoned her pants and pushed them, along with a pair of dainty underwear, down her legs.
"Yikes," Brian turned away, latching the stall door.
Samantha practically fell back onto the toilet seat, "Silly boy, you've seen my cootchie before."
"I guess you're right," Brian acknowledged. "I'm just trying to be somewhat gentlemanly, here."
"You're the only one who's seen it," Samantha added, pushing her glasses up again.
Brian squinted over his shoulder, "Really?"
Samantha bobbed her head drunkenly, "Kinda pathetic, huh? I'm twenty-five years old and one ex-boyfriend away from being a virgin."
The twinkling sounds of Samantha's urine falling into the toilet bowl filled the stall.
"I don't think that's pathetic," Brian commented gently.
Samantha snorted a laugh, "It's completely pathetic. You know how girls never want to date nerdy guys into comic books?"
"All too well," Brian said. "You pretty much described my entire high school experience."
"I've always been the pasty, four-eyed female version of that. Guys really aren't interested."
"I was interested," Brian reminded her.
"Was," Samantha reached for some toilet paper. "Past tense. But I don't blame you for choosing Stacy. She's like... unbelievably gorgeous."
Brian had been wondering when the conversation was going to come up. Given their history, Brian was surprised it took as long as it did. Obviously the alcohol was loosening Samantha's usually quiet reserve. She had been the obvious choice when Charlie and Brian realized they needed someone to help manage their comic property, due to her intimate knowledge of Captain Darkness, but Brian had his reservations. He was afraid his past romantic relationship with Samantha would make a professional relationship too difficult.
"I didn't really choose her," Brian said. "Stacy and I were more of a by-product of Charlie and Miley. I'm Charlie's best friend and Stacy is Miley's. It's like we didn't have a choice, we just kind of got thrust together."
"Great," Samantha wiped. "So now destiny is against me, too."
Brian gave her a look, "I thought you said you were over me."
Samantha stood and pulled her pants up. When she turned to flush she nearly toppled over again, but Brian was there to support her. She leaned against his chest, "I never got over you, silly boy. I just... I gave up."
Miley asked, "Do you remember when you were in the hospital with your broken ribs and I jerked you off in the shower?"
"I'll never forget it," Charlie remained in a chair at Miley's bedside. He was playing with a remote control, exploring available channels on a wall-mounted television.
Miley giggled, "What about the time after we first hooked up and I jerked you off in my BMW?"
Charlie glanced at her, "That time in the parking lot?"
Miley grinned and nodded.
"I thought we were going to get caught by someone walking by."
"Yeah, you were always pretty nervous in high school." Miley pulled a Styrofoam cup on her bedside tray closer, drawing some water through its straw. "How about when I jerked you off in your grandma's bathroom?"
"Don't remind me," Charlie laughed. "I'm positive my mom knew what we were doing when we came out."
"You had a guilty look on your face," Miley noted.
Charlie gave up on finding anything worth watching, "All I can find is infomercials."
"It's almost four o'clock in the morning, baby." Miley reached out and rubbed Charlie's shoulder comfortingly, "There's nothing on at this hour."
Charlie turned the television off with the click of a button and set the remote on Miley's tray, "Do you remember every hand-job you've ever given me?"
"I don't know," Miley lifted a shoulder. "I've given you a lot of hand-jobs. Like that time I got you off in the limo on our way to prom."
Charlie smiled at the memory, "Yeah, and of course you remember after prom in our hotel, when you gave me one with...."
"Stacy," Miley finished for him.
Charlie's expression lost its mirth, "How is she?"
"I haven't seen her since she broke up with Brian." Miley sighed sadly, "But I guess she's not doing well. Chip said she's been partying and drinking pretty heavily all summer long."
"You talk to Chip?" Charlie sounded surprised.
"He came by the house," Miley explained. "Evidently they're sleeping together."
Charlie's jaw dropped, "Stacy and Chip?"
"Yeah," Miley bit her lip. "I'm worried about her, Charlie. I want to go see her but it was really awful the last time we spoke. She hates that I'm so close to Brian. She's convinced Brian is cheating on her with Sam and that I'm covering for him. We both said terrible things to each other."
"I'm sorry," Charlie clasped Miley's hand. "You two have always been so close, but when you fight it's epic."
"He's not, is he?" Miley feared. "Cheating with Sam?"
"Of course not," Charlie shook his head dismissively. "I mean, we got close with Sam again while on the promotional tour, which I never thought would be possible after she faked a pregnancy, but they're just friends. If anything was going on between them I'd definitely know about it."
Miley looked relieved, trusting Charlie's evaluation.
Samantha was giggling uncontrollably and leaning against Brian as they walked through a long hallway towards her hotel room, "I'm really drunk."
"So am I," Brian laughed.
"You can't be that bad," she noted, depending on him to remain upright. "I mean, you feel stable."
"I guess I'm a more practiced drunk," Brian surmised. When they reached the door he situated Samantha against the wall, "Where's your key card?"
Samantha leaned back against the wall and fished in her pants pocket, "Remind me why we drank so much?"
"Because Marvel Studios and HBO want to make a show based on Captain Darkness," Brian answered her, taking the card when she produced it.
Samantha made a big grin, "Oh yeah. But you and Charlie can't cave on final story approval, no matter how much money they throw at you. Okay?"
Brian got the door open and slid an arm around Samantha to escort her inside, "Relax. You can stop being our manager for one night, right? We can talk about it tomorrow, when we've sobered up."
"I have to be your manager all the time," she leaned against his side as the pair moved the short distance towards a large bed. "Otherwise...."
Samantha sat on the foot of the bed, relieved they had finally reached their destination. "Otherwise," she looked at him, pushing her glasses up, "I start thinking about other stuff."
Brian sat beside her, "What kind of other stuff?"
"Like, how much I want to be your girlfriend again."
"Oh," Brian froze when Samantha rested her head upon his shoulder. "That kind of other stuff."
Charlie awoke with a start to his cell phone buzzing from within his front pocket, forgetting where he was. He glanced around the silent hospital room and saw Miley curled up on the bed with a peaceful expression. With a sleepy squint towards a wall clock Charlie wondered who would be calling him at seven o'clock in the morning. He sat up in the bedside chair and dug into his pocket.
"Brian?" Charlie answered quietly, rising to step out of the room. He didn't want to wake Miley.
"Hey, dude." Brian's voice greeted. "I'm sorry to call so late, but I needed someone to talk to."
"Late?" Charlie snorted, closing Miley's room door behind him. "It's early -- just after seven."
"Oh yeah. I forget the time difference. It's four o'clock, here."
Charlie started walking down the hall and noticed several hospital staff members pushing carts and preparing to serve breakfast. "What are you doing up?" he asked. "Is everything all right?"
"No," Brian answered. "Everything is definitely not all right. I almost slept with Sam."
"What?" Charlie exclaimed louder than he had intended.
"I know," Brian's tone sounded guilty, "I know. But we both had a lot to drink and then I ended up in her hotel room. She told me she still has a thing for me and then the next thing I know we're making out and ripping each other's clothes off."
"Jesus," Charlie listened, finding an empty waiting room and sitting down.
"I don't know how I did it, but I stopped before things got too far. But I wanted her, dude. I really did."
"I can't blame you," Charlie said, pushing a hand through his brown hair and leaning back in the waiting room chair. "I mean, you've been on the road for four months with your ex-girlfriend. Something was bound to happen, eventually."
"I just feel so guilty," Brian said. "I basically did... or almost did what I swore to Stacy I wasn't doing. Shit, dude, how come I can't ever make up my mind?"
"Because they're both great girls," Charlie answered for him. "Stacy is your high school dream, you know? She's fun, gorgeous, strong, and independent. But Sam... she's one of us. She's a geek. She thinks Wolverine is cool and loves to argue about why Star Wars is better than Star Trek."
"Yeah," Brian agreed. "I really dig that about Sam."
"Listen," Charlie said, rubbing his forehead. "There's something I need to tell you; it's about Stace."
Apprehension tainted Brian's voice, "Uh-oh, what is it?"
"You can't freak out," Charlie warned. "And I'm not even sure I'm supposed to be telling you, because I heard it from Miley, but you're my best friend and there's no way I can keep something like this from you."
"Spit it out, dude. What's going on?"
Charlie sighed, "Evidently Stacy has been hooking up with Chip."
Charlie had to pull the cell phone away from his ear.
Brian continued yelling, "She's been afraid of me sleeping with Sam and all this time she's been two-timing me with that skinny little high school nerd?!"
"What the fuck, Charlie?!? I'm going to kill Chip when I get back!"
"I don't think you can do that," Charlie reasoned, trying to sound calming.
"Why the fuck not?"
"Well, technically, didn't she break up with you? Stacy isn't really cheating on you if you guys are broken up."
"So you're taking her side?" Brian accused.
"Whoa, man," Charlie lifted a staying palm, even though there wasn't anyone in the room to see his gesture. "Don't get pissed at the messenger. If anything, I agree with you; it's pretty low of Chip to move in on the ex of one of his best friends."
"He's no friend of mine," Brian sounded angry. "I always liked Theo better, anyway."
"Really?" Charlie sounded surprised. "I always thought Chip had better taste in comics. Theo always seemed a little... off. Plus I think he has a giant crush on Miley."
"Really, Charlie? Is this what we're talking about?" Brian sounded sarcastic, "Who has better taste in comics, Chip or Theo?"
"Right. Sorry." Charlie got back on track, "Well, look at it this way -- now you don't have to feel guilty about almost having sex with Sam."
"How long has Miley known about this?" Brian asked. "Is Miley there? Can I talk to her?"
"She's sleeping... um, I probably should have mentioned this earlier, but we had a bit of a scare last night. We're at the hospital."
"What? Is she okay? The baby...?
"Everything's cool," Charlie assured him. "Don't worry about it; I'll be taking her home later this morning. She was bleeding a little out of her, you know... lady parts. She fainted, thinking it was a miscarriage or something, but the bleeding turned out to be totally normal. They only kept her overnight to make sure she hadn't gone into shock."
"Lady parts?" Brian asked teasingly. "Jesus, Charlie, you can be such a square. Just say 'vagina'. You're a writer for Christ's sake, use your vocabulary."
"My pregnant wife is in the hospital and you're giving me shit about my lack of vocabulary regarding the female sex organ?"
"I'm just teasing you. You said she's okay, right?"
Charlie sighed, "Yeah, she's fine. She frightened the shit out of me though. I mean, she had blood running down her legs and she was as white as a ghost. I thought... I mean, I thought...."
"I'm sorry, dude." Brian quickly said, hearing that Charlie was having trouble finishing his sentence. "That sounds really scary. Shit, I should be home with you guys. I should be there at the hospital, with you."