by Layne and Stacey
Libby climbed the stairs at Millie's, hoping she wasn't going to see Abby at
a time when Alex Ross was there too. She still wasn't too sure what to
make of Alex Ross. She'd been stunned when Abby had told her on the phone
that she was going to be staying on in his room, even though he was now out of
the hospital and staying there himself too.
On the way down the hall, she passed Richie's room. That stirred up all kinds of warm, wonderful feelings about all the time she'd spent there with him. Down, girl! Libby told herself firmly. Her six weeks of healing time wasn't up yet, but she couldn't wait for it to be. She couldn't believe how much she missed going to bed with him.
At the door to the room number Abby had given her, she hesitated a moment and then knocked.
"That must be her," Abby said, jumping up to answer the door, "be nice."
"I'm always...nice," Alex smirked.
Abby gave him a look that let him know she knew better, then flung the door open to greet her friend.
"Libby, how are you doing? Come in, please," she said, giving her friend a
"Abby!" Libby hugged the other girl back, clinging tightly for a moment, thinking about all they had both been through lately. She had tears in her eyes when they separated.
"You're looking good." She looked closely at Abby, still holding her hands.
Then she noticed Alex Ross. "Oh- Uh- Hi." She tried to wipe the tears from her eyes. "I'm sorry. I didn't see you there."
"Don't mind me," Alex grinned, as he lay partially reclined on the bed, "I'd get up, but, you know... stab wound and all."
Abby cast him a look, then turned back to Libby, "Please, have a seat," she
moved one of Alex's shirts from an armchair and motioned for Libby to sit, then
she sat on the edge of the bed across from her. "I heard about your accident,
how are you feeling?"
Libby's face grew darker. "Okay, I guess, considering." She really didn't want to talk about that. It still hurt too much.
"But you two-" She glanced over at Alex, including him. "You two have been through much worse than I have. Are both of you gonna be okay?"
Abby looked over at Alex, then back to Libby, managing a smile, "Yeah, I think we will... in time, you know."
"If I survive the brow-beating I've been getting from my investor wanting to
know when I'll be getting the next edition of my paper out, then I'll be just
peachy," Alex smirked.
Libby knew exactly who his "investor" was and she didn't like the idea one bit.
"Yeah, work can be a bitch sometimes," she said, turning back to Abby.
"Time," she sighed. "Getting better all seems to come out to 'in time', doesn't it?"
"Libby," Abby said, suspecting there was something else bothering her friend other than just the car wreck, "is there something else going on you need to talk with me about? It isn't the job, is it? Cal's not giving you a hard time over all of this is he?"
"Oh, no!" Libby answered her. "You know Cal. He's pretty easy-going about things. 'Course, I guess it's easier to be that way in a little town like this. I keep trying to imagine having worked for him on a paper like the Washington Globe! Something going on all the time."
"No, it's not work. It's- It's-" She glanced over at Alex Ross. "No offense, but it's really not easy for me to talk about. Especially with someone else around." Not to mention that she didn't want the loss of her baby to wind up being front-page news in the Glen Tattler either. Right now, no one knew about it except she and Richie. Not even old Jessup had found out about it so far.
"Oh, don't mind Ross," Abby said, concerned now that something really was going on with Libby, "he won't say a word," she turned to Alex, "right?"
"Oh, yeah, you can trust me, slim," he nodded, "mum's the word. Unless...
you'd rather I take a hike downstairs for a bit, let you two have your
"Um- Would you mind?" Libby asked, apologetically. "It's- It's kind of private."
"Sure thing," Alex told her, wincing as he pushed himself up off of the bed and got to his feet. "I'll...uh...just be down in the tavern, doll, if you need me."
"Thanks, Alex," Abby told him, kissing him on the cheek.
"You can make it up to me later, doll," he whispered, a grin spread across his face, then left the room.
Abby waited until she knew he was down the hall and out of earshot before she
turned back to Libby and said, "Okay, spill. What's going on?"
"I'm sorry to make him leave," Libby told her. "It's just-" Her face crumpled a little and she felt tears start.
"I was pregnant, Abby. I didn't even know it, but I was, and I-" It was coming out in a rush, and Libby had thought she was past the tears, but apparently not. "I lost the baby in the accident!"
"Oh Libby, sweetie... I'm SO sorry!" Abby told her. She stood up and wrapped
an arm around her shoulders. She knew her friend had been seeing a couple
different guys in town and always worried she might end up pregnant, but to lose
the baby...that was just too sad to think about. She hesitated a moment, but
then asked, "Did you let the father know?"
Libby sat in the circle of Abby's arm, ashamed of herself for pouring all this out to her when Abby had just gotten out of the hospital herself. "No, I- I don't know who he was, Abby. I don't know if it was March's baby, or- Or Dan's."
"Maybe... maybe it was for the best, then..." Abby said, quietly, "My momma always told me there's a reason for everything, both the good and the bad. Of course, she drank pretty heavy," she chuckled, trying to lighten the mood. When Libby began to cry more, Abby said, "Sorry, sorry... but I do believe that things happen for a reason, and we might not understand it now, but in the end it will all become clear to us." She was trying to convince herself of this as much as she was Libby. Somehow, what happened with Dwayne just had to have a good reason.
"That's what Richie said," Libby told her, sniffing and trying to dry her eyes. "That maybe it was for the best. I just don't see how it could be for the best for a baby to be lost."
"You know, Abby, I never even THOUGHT about having a baby before but, once I knew I lost this one it made me think about it more and more. Do you ever think about having one?"
"Well, yeah, of course I do," Abby replied,
handing her a tissue, "but first I'd like to, you know, get married... or at
least be in a serious relationship with someone I love first. Once, when Dwayne
and I were first married, I actually brought up the topic of having a baby, and
you know what? He told me to get a puppy instead. Yeah, I know, he was the
worst, but he did have a point - even if it was insensitive. I wasn't ready for
the responsibility of having a child yet when I could barely take care of myself
or even a goldfish."
"I've been doing some serious thinking about it," Libby told her. "And I'm not sure I'd really want to be married or in a serious relationship. The more I think about it, the more I think I could be a good mom by myself."
The mention of Dwayne brought her back to Abby's troubles. "Have you gotten everything settled yet? You know, with Dwayne's--estate, or whatever? Do you feel like you're ready to move on? I mean- Here you are with Alex Ross."
"Umm... I've kinda been putting off getting the estate settled," Abby
admitted, "I actually had the sheriff contact Dwayne's family to let them know
what happened, I just couldn't bring myself to face them. I can't go back to
that house... not yet, maybe not ever." She looked down at her hands, fighting
back the tears, "I'm not really sure what's going to happen with me and Ross,
but for now it just seems right, you know?"
"I don't blame you," Libby said quickly. "Just the thought of going back there must be tough, after everything that happened to you there. If you want someone to go with you, I'll go. So you don't have to go alone."
"Thanks, but Colin already brought me my things from there," Abby told her,
"Everything else can be sold with the property as far as I'm concerned.
Truthfully, I'm not even sure I want any of the money from it. I just want to
move on and forget about Dwayne even happened."
"That's how I've been feeling lately," Libby admitted to her. "Just go on with my life and forget what's happened. But I just don't think I can do it, no matter how much I want to."
"So you're staying her with Alex for now? Do you love him?" Libby was curious about that. Abby's decision seemed to have been made so quickly. And it was surprising, given what had happened between the two of them.
"Seriously, I don't know," Abby admitted, "but when he was in the hospital,
we really seemed to hit it off. He's a real sweetheart, once you get past all
that flirting he does. I mean, the man came to rescue me... took a knife in his
chest, and still wants to be with me. Who else can you say would do that?"
"Yeah." Libby grinned, trying to lighten the mood for a change. "That sure is a whole new way to meet a guy!"
"Relationships, though-" She went on. "I'm not interested in them any more. Richie and I- We're friends, and that's good enough for me. I don't want to get involved, the way I did with Dan and March."
"Look, sweetie, I'm not one to tell anyone how to live their life," Abby
began, "I mean, lord knows I've sure made a hell of a mess of my life. But
Libby, you're young, you've got loads of time ahead of you to plan for babies
and to decide if you wanna have a relationship with someone. Take your time,
don't rush into anything or make a mistake you may later regret. That's all I'm
sayin', I won't mention it again. Now... what's this about you and the town
solicitor gettin' it on?" she smirked.
Brightening at the mention of Richie, Libby told her, "You heard about the 'friends-with-benefits' thing back in college? Well, I used to think it was a crock, but now-"
"Richie and I met over at the tavern, right after everything that happened with Dan and March. His wife had just left him and we started commiserating with one another and the next thing you know- Well, I was waking up in his bed the next morning!"
Shaking her head in wonder, Libby went on. "It was really a big surprise, you know? So, anyway, we've both had it with relationships and we decided to be friends, and that's about it."
"Just be careful," Abby warned, "I seem to recall that not always ending on a good note, someone always ends up falling for the other and getting their hearts broken. Of course, look at me and Ross, I'm certainly not one to judge."
"Oh, there's nothing to be careful about," Libby reassured her. "That's what I think's so great about this whole thing! We're friends and we've set that up already and we don't have to worry about where any relationship's going or whatever! I can just relax and be myself!"
"And you know-" she went on. "Richie's not like all the gossip you hear about him around town." She saw Abby's doubtful look. "Really! He came to straight to the hospital when I called him after my accident. He came and took me home afterwards, too. And he insisted on carrying me up all those steps to my apartment. And he's been looking after me ever since--checking up on me and bringing me dinner and stuff. I couldn't have asked for a better friend." She finished, with a happy smile on her face, maybe a little happier than she had intended it to be.
Abby bit her tongue, not wanting to tell her friend what she really thought about the whole Richie thing. She knew when Libby got her mind set on something there was no telling her otherwise; the girl would have to learn for herself. Sadly, that most likely would mean she'd get hurt again, and Abby hated the idea of Libby or anyone else she cared about getting hurt. Richie seemed like a nice enough guy, but she'd heard talk around town, and even seen him with a few other "friends" here and there, and knew in her heart this whole "friends-with-benefits" thing was just a way guys liked to get girls to go to bed with them and not feel guilty about stepping out on them afterwards. Yep, someone always got hurt in the end, too bad it most likely would be Libby. All she could do was be there for her when it all came crashing down around her. That's what real friends were for, after all.
She managed a smile for Libby's sake, "I'm glad you're happy, sweetie," she told her, "and I'm always here for you to talk to."
About that time, there was a knock on the door and Alex called out, "Is it safe? Can I come back in now?"
Abby giggled, looked at Libby, "Well?"
Libby grinned. "Sure, Alex! Come on in!" she called out.
"But Abby-" she whispered. "Please don't say anything about the baby. Nobody knows except you and Richie, and I'd like to keep it that way."
"Of course I won't," Abby assured her.
"Won't what?" Alex asked, as he walked into the room and flopped down on the bed.
"Oh nothing, just girl talk, nothing you'd be interested in," Abby told him.
"Hmm...," Alex replied, suspiciously, but knew to let it slide. He'd heard talk down in the tavern about Libby and Richie's little 'friendship', so he assumed that's what they'd been chatting about. Well, that and him, of course.