Goodbye Until Tomorrow
A/N: This is the third story in a trilogy that starts with To Feel the Sun and continues in So Real. While I do share a lot of back story, you might want to read those two stories first so you get the whole effect. If your dogged set against it, you probably could get by, though.
When my twin sister Gracie showed up at my apartment, sobbing incoherently, I simply chalked it up to my dramatic sister being irritating. I guess it's kind of hypocritical that I'm the professional stage actress and I'm calling my somewhat reserved (when she wasn't pickled with alcohol) sister dramatic. But even Gracie would admit that she had a tendency to freak out over the smallest things. And her reactions to big things were just insane.
"I am not buying a pregnancy test!" she sobbed into my shoulder, the first legible words that I could make out.
"What?!" I yelped, forgetting that her ear was inches from my mouth.
"God in heaven!" Gracie pulled away and swiped at the tears running down her face. "Just because you can project like a Wagnerian Soprano, doesn't mean you should."
"What's this about a pregnancy test?"
"I'm late," Gracie said, her lower lip wobbling in a way I hadn't seen, like, ever. Not even the night she found out Carlin Thompson got engaged to Danielle Tetra.
Gracie fiddled with the hem of her t-shirt. She must have stolen it from Jonah's half of the closet, as it was far too large for her tiny frame, and had Guinness written across the chest. Gracie hates Guinness, but as he was a full-blooded Irishman, I think Jonah felt obligated to own a shirt. I wasn't even sure if he liked Guinness. "Um, two months."
"You haven't had your period in two months and only now you start to wonder if you're knocked up?"
"I was hoping I was just, like, sick or something!"
"That doesn't even make any sense."
"Well, puking every morning does, and when you're sick, sometimes you don't-"
I threw up my hands, effectively cutting her off. "You were throwing up every morning and not bleeding out of your vagina and you didn't think, 'Oh, I've been married for over a year, I must have gotten knocked up!'"
Gracie glared at me. "I can't have kids, Sarah, I'm going to die."
I was about to say something, but my efforts were just a fraction too late. I knew Gracie well enough to sense an oncoming psychotic rant. Usually I was able to diffuse the situation after twenty-five years of practice, but not living with her anymore certainly slowed my reflexes.
"Oh my god Sarah, I'm going to get horribly fat and have stupid cravings and annoy the shit out of Jonah. And even worse, I'm going to have to go to the doctor. I can't go to the doctor, Sarah. Remember, they had to practically sedate me in order to go to the gynecologist and I can't deal with people poking and prodding me and holy fucking shit I have to push a child through my vagina and I'll die if Jonah wants to watch or something equally creepy and oh my god will I have to buy those ugly maternity clothes and I'm going to diiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeee."
I was quite impressed with Gracie's ability to take a diphthong like "ie" and extend it into four syllables. Gracie lost herself in sobs onto my shoulder once again. I patted her head awkwardly. It's not that I wasn't good at comforting my sister, it was more of the fact that I had no idea how to comfort a possibly pregnant sister. If it was one of my other friends, I'd probably tell her to stop whining and go pee on a stick.
Well, I probably would have said the same thing to Gracie a couple of years ago, but we were still in that transitional stage where she was married and doing the wife thing, and I was still feeling horribly guilty about the fact that I'd kicked her out of this very apartment once upon a time.
Guilt does wonderful things for the person you feel guilty towards. "Twinnie," I said carefully. "Let's go to the convenience store and get a couple of tests and we can be sure then."
Gracie just mumbles something incoherent into my shirt. Great. I'm already getting drooled on and it's not from an adorable baby but my full-grown married sister.
I led her by the hand out of my apartment and we walked into the elevator. Gracie sniffled like a little kid and managed to stop crying. "Why didn't you just tell this to Jonah?" I asked when she was calm.
Gracie gave me a look that clearly said she thought I was full-out insane. I then remembered who I was talking to.
"Oh," I said as the elevator pinged. "Right."
We exited the elevator and waved to the doorman as we headed outside. It was the beginning of October, and it was just starting to get a bit chilly in the evenings. The afternoon was quite warm though, and I regretted wearing long sleeves that day. It was pretty quiet, as I supposed most people were still at work or school. The walk to the convenience store five blocks away seemed pretty awful, as Gracie was still sniffling and I was contemplating how on earth Gracie was going to handle a kid. If she was pregnant. Though Gracie and I were always both regular as the freakin' sunrise, so I would have been more surprised if she wasn't knocked up.
The convenience store clerk couldn't have looked more bored with his job, and when I slapped down the two boxes of pregnancy tests, he raised his eyebrows, looking from Gracie to me. Before he cold even open his mouth, I growled out, "If you say something about a kinky threesome I will shove this box so far down your throat it'll come out your ass."
He rang us out without a word.
Gracie barely even acknowledged the little incident, which told me she was really was upset. Not that the ranting and crying didn't, but whatever.
Back at my apartment, Gracie grabbed the boxes and locked herself in my bathroom, grumbling about morning sickness and peeing and other suck delightful topics. I half expected her to come back out to wait with me as the test processed, but she stayed inside.
I was about to knock to ask if she'd died after a few minutes had passed when I heard a shriek, loud and long.
"Well," I said to the door. "I guess that settles that question."
Gracie came barreling out of the bathroom and tackled me to the ground. "I'M GOING TO GET FAT."
"Dear God, woman, at least complain about something worthwhile. You act like it's the end of the world, and you're the happily married lady who works from her closet."
"I can't do this, Sarah!" Gracie clung to my shirt. I extricated myself and slipped a pillow from my couch into her arms. She squeezed it tightly. I couldn't tell if she was hyperventilating, as her face was pressed into the pillow. She screamed again.
"Gracie!" I barked it out. I really eased up on bullying Gracie into doing my will after everything that went down two years ago, but sometimes, she really needed a good dose of sense.
She looked up at me, her face streaked with tears.
"Stop it." I used my best voice, the one reserved for when I was in a theater with no microphones and shitty acoustics. "You are twenty-five years old and you're acting like a five year old who was told she couldn't have candy for dessert. You are going to be a great mother for no other reason than the fact that you're just stubborn enough to will good parenting skills into existence. You know Jonah is going to be so over the moon about this that he will do everything in his power to make sure you are comfortable. You've been whining long enough and I really don't give a shit if you get fat. Deal with it, and hit the gym after the baby is born. Snap out of it."
Gracie snapped her mouth shut, thoroughly chastened. "I am not telling Jonah yet."
"Why not? He's like, going to freak out and post on Facebook and tell everyone he meets."
"He will not."
"Yeah, probably, he still has a stick up his ass when he's talking to anyone who's not you."
Gracie gave me her vicious glare. If there was one thing my sister could do well, it was glare. I shrank away, literally shrank away from the force of her glare. I suppose I could cow her only so far. Sniping about her husband (no matter how true it was), was apparently over the line. "Sorry," I said. "But really. You need to stop overreacting about everything and calm down and think about this rationally. You're not sixteen, you're married, your husband adores you, and everyone is going to be happy about this."
"I know," Gracie said after a long moment. For the first time she sounded rational. "I'm just afraid I'm going to screw up."
"I'm sure all expectant mothers feel that way," I said, though I wasn't entirely sure. She really should have had this conversation with someone who actually was a mother. Like ours. But Gracie didn't want to tell anyone yet.
"I have to go to the doctor before I tell anyone," she continued, as if I hadn't said anything. I frowned at her slight. "Just to make sure, you know?"
I would blame her mood swings on her crazy hormones, but I knew better. Gracie always had wild emotions, it was just that a lot of people didn't know that because she wasn't nearly as outgoing as me. She preferred to stay at home with herself than go out. And if she did go out, half the time the only way she could be outgoing at all was if she got drunk. And she had a tendency to be quite bitchy when drunk.
"Yeah," I said finally. "Sounds good. I'll go with you if you want me to."
Gracie looked relieved. She stood up and hugged me. "I'm sorry I'm so crazy."
"It's okay," I said, and patted her on the head again. Awkward. "We all are sometimes. And you do have an excuse. I have to give you that. Having kids will change your entire life forever. I'm sorry I'm not sensitive to that like I should be."
Gracie collapsed onto the cough. "Oh my god, I don't know anything about anything. What doctor am I going to see?"
"Your gynecologist?" I asked.
She shook her head. "No, I decided to get a new one because she scared me. But I haven't gotten around to it yet." Her face fell. "There is this guy OBGYN that goes to my church."
I forgot Gracie started going to church with Jonah. It was weird when she told me. I mean, not necessarily church itself. We would go every now and then with our grandparents, mostly on holidays. But the fact that she went regularly. But she seemed to enjoy it, so I didn't care.
I was more surprised that she would consider a man. But Gracie would surprise me sometimes, and I wasn't about to squelch her breaking out of her shell. "Call the office, maybe?" I suggested.
"I'm going to offer this once and only once, because you know how much I hate it, but..." I trailed off, and flicked my eyes to the TV. "I'm willing to treat you to some Bruce Cambpell therapy. I don't have rehearsal tonight."
Gracie's eyes lit up and she hugged me again. "You're the best twin I've ever had, Sarah."
I smiled in spite of myself. Ah yes, my crazy twin was back after a brief sojourn into the land of freak outs. "I'm the only twin you've ever had, Gracie." I pat her on the head for the third time. "Let's go get some tacos."
I jerked my head up at the sharp invocation of my name. My musical director, Aubin, glared at me.
I bit my lip, feeling a bit sheepish. A.J. Lucas, better known as Aubin to his cast, wasn't exactly a tyrant, but when things didn't go as planned, he could get very frustrated. I didn't really blame him. My head wasn't exactly in the game at this point. Rehearsals had been running smoothly up until now. I had originally planned on appearing in Aubin's own musical, but he wasn't able to secure a theater and any other last minute decisions so he took over directing the musical The Last Five Years when the old director was fired for some reason. Aubin promptly cast me and his friend Joshua Blanchett (also a rising star of Broadway) in the show. I was slumming it, really. With my mother's name and my past roles in more well known companies, I only took the job because I missed out on better opportunities.
"Sorry," I said. I flipped the page in my music and tried to concentrate. My eyes weren't reading the notes, though. I was still concerned about Gracie. She'd calmed down a lot by the time she went back home the night before, but she still had a ways to go before I could trust she wouldn't have another freak out and come knocking on my door. I could normally overcome distractions quite easily when I had to work, but I'd never had to deal with a pregnant sister.
I managed to come in correctly, and I sang "Climbing Uphill" without any real emotion. I could tell Aubin was getting frustrated with me, so I tried to step it up a notch.
"Okay, I'm not here to be your therapist, but is something bothering you?" he asked when I finished.
"Just some personal stuff. I know I should leave it at the door but, well, that's easier said than done."
Aubin and Josh exchanged a meaningful look. I almost asked what it was about, but Josh cut me off.
"Well, let's get drinks afterwards and we can talk about it, huh?" Josh gave me a charming smile. We were a lot alike, actually. He was the son of rich parents, like me, and he had an easier than normal time of it getting on Broadway, due to his connections (though his connections came in the form of A.J. Lucas and his godmother being Patrice Pulcella). He was a few years younger than me, but we managed to mesh pretty well. It didn't hurt that he had one of the most remarkable voices I'd ever heard.
We went through the rest of rehearsal with little to distract us. I managed to push Gracie from my mind and put on a performance that pleased Aubin. True to Josh's suggestion, we ended up at a bar down the street, tossing back shots and sharing our life stories. I'd known Aubin from when I was in Phantom of the Opera a couple years earlier.
It was probably the fact that I lost count of shots of vodka that I downed that I was spilling my guts to the two young men about what had gone down during that run of Phantom.
"It was so fucked up," I said, my words slurring together so it sounded like I said, "Ish wass sooooo fucked uuuup."
I hadn't gotten good and drunk in a long time, so it was kind of a freeing experience. Aubin was tipsy, but he had cut back long before Josh or I did. Josh was just as smashed as I was, and I found myself liking him more and more as I drank more and more.
"Like," I continued, oh-so-intelligently, "Not only was my boyfriend like, all freakin' out on me on stage, but, like, Carlin was all plotting to fuck Gracie while his wife was in LA. It was so fucked up."
"Sounds like it," Aubin said, smiling over his ale at me. "Wasn't your sister dating that cellist, Simon?"
I nodded. Big mistake. The entire bar seemed to whirl around me. "Yeah," I managed to get out. "He was such a nice guy, I don't know why she screwed everything up with him."
"Probably because he wasn't such a nice guy," Josh said in total seriousness. "I mean, guys are jerks, am I right, Aubin?"
"You are so right, Joshua," Aubin replied, playing along.
"Yeah, there was this girl I really liked." Josh's seriousness turned morose. "She was so beautiful. I don't know why I let her go."
Aubin looked pained, and I wondered what the story behind that one was.
"More beautiful than me?" I couldn't help but ask, though in a teasing tone.
"Beautifuller," Josh insisted. "Voice like an angel. Kinda down on herself, but she was so wonderful. Aubin, why'd I let her go?"
"You never had her in the first place." Aubin's own tone was irritated now. I perked up. "So therefore you couldn't have let her go."
"But I wanted her." Josh stared into his shot glass as if it held the answer to his dilemma. "I should have wanted who I had, but I couldn't. You know, her name was Sarah too."
"Wow, the girl you liked had my name?"
"No," Aubin said, his voice tight. "Her name was Liz. Sarah was his girlfriend. I don't know why you ever dated her, she was horrible."
"She was a good lay and she could sing," Josh said, with unabashed honesty. Oh what drink would do to the tongue.
"Yeah, but she was also a bitch, hated everyone except you, and you know she only dated you because your father is wealthy."
Josh downed another shot. "This sucks. I miss Liz. I want her back."
Aubin jumped to his feet and stalked towards the bathroom, his movements stiff.
"What's wrong with him?" I asked.
Josh frowned. "I don't know. Hey, so whatever happened with you?"
I frowned as well. "Carlin tried to sleep with my sister and made it sound like she came on to him. And like, everyone believed it cuz she was ridiculously in love with him for so long. Even I believed it, so I told her boyfriend, and he left her, and I kicked her out of the house and she went to live with her husband."
"Well, the guy who became her husband. They totally didn't even do anything more salacious than kiss, it was so weird."
"Did you just say salacious? What does that even mean."
"I don't know." I stared at Josh, realization flooding through me. I had no idea what salacious meant, and here I was using it. Did my vocabulary actually expand when I was drunk?
Josh giggled. "Well, you're so pretty, and you're way nicer than my Sarah ever was. And like, I'd totally make out with you."
"Wow, you are drunk." I snorted. "But I'd totally make out with you too."
I have to admit, this wasn't an unusual occurrence for me. Gracie was always flabbergasted by how I managed to have a different guy every time I went out, but it was mostly because I had no filter when I was drunk. Gracie was a raging bitch when she was drunk, I was a lusty, salacious little trollop.
I guess that's why I found myself making out with Josh two minutes later.
It was a good thing Aubin was way more sober than the rest of us, as he managed to break us up before we got past the liplock stage.
Sleeping with your costars was always awkward. Aubin got us both into separate cabs, and I found myself thinking, in a drunken stupor, about Josh's own little tragedy versus mine. I let out a heavy sigh and leaned my head against the cab window. It had taken longer than I ever expected to get over Liam. He was just so much more than any other guy I ran with. I didn't have boyfriends, not really.
And of course I'd kick myself when I sobered up and remembered making out with Josh. I always did stupid stuff like that. No wonder I didn't have any meaningful relationships. All the guys I met were in bars, or were theater people. I'd told myself long before I wouldn't date another actor. That was always a disaster in my experience.
Gracie, who I always kind of felt sorry for since we were kids, was married and going to have a kid, and was doing much better at this life thing than I was. I didn't want the domestic ideal. Being a housewife and popping out kids was so not my scene. But if all Gracie had to complain about was that she was going to have to experience childbirth, she had things good. Sure, I had a successful career, but I also had a string of empty pseudo-relationships and I had no idea how to keep a guy around. Or if I even wanted to.
God. How pathetic. For years I gave my sister crap for being a loser, when in fact, I was the real loser.
I began to understand why Gracie often was distant from me. And in my sobering up, I decided I had to be there for her. Her pregnancy was going to be difficult with her testy nature. Jonah could only do so much, as he wasn't going to understand her. I understood her better than anyone, at least into pregnancy fears.
I frowned. Great. I just had to go and do the noble thing.
I really could be very stupid sometimes.
Author's Note: The "other Sarah", Liz, Aubin, and Josh are all characters from the first long story I ever finished, back when still allowed original fics. I'm going to rewrite it some day... so you get to hear some of their relationship woes second hand by Sarah's involvement with them.
Lots of Gracie/Jonah will abound. :D I promise you that.