Murphy's Law

10 Generations of real life problems.

This was supposed to be a legacy but it's turned into a story...

Anyway, this story is inspired by favorite books, movies, television shows and personal experiences.

Life is not a fairy tale but that doesn't mean it's not beautiful. After all, you love people in spite of their flaws, and sometimes their flaws make you love them even more.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Chapter 3.9 You Had Me At Hello

Cynics of love are actually the greatest believers in it. How do you think they got so bitter? They experienced it for themselves: love, not lust, saw it in all its ugliness and were burned badly. Passion isn't for someone who doubts nor is it for the infatuated. It's for someone who knows, who hurts and is still pissed off enough to have an opinion. Cynics are the ones who know love AND loss, the best. 

Tuck knew this more than anyone.  After all, nothing is stronger than the bond between a child and its mother.  Even after years of watching his mother stumble out of her bedroom with random men night after night.  Her eyes would be glassy and her nostrils would always have a white film under them that she'd try to sniffle back up as discreetly as possible. She'd sleep during the days and the house was always dark, the blinds drawn.  The utilities were constantly getting shut off as she wasn't able to hold a job.  He cooked dinner for the both of them even when he was still in grade school.  Sometimes, her dealer wasn't able to come through.  She'd bite her nails and pace.  She'd yell and scream obscenities, holding her head in her hands.  But in spite of everything, he loved her.  

It isn't people's actions that make them become unlovable.  It wasn't just that his mother was a coke addict or would never be a good parent or an upstanding member of society.  That's the only way he had ever known her.  But the night she took the pills, as he begged her through tear-filled eyes to put them down, changed everything.  His mother's life was bad enough that she was ready to end it all and not even her child could dissuade her.  Love didn't conquer all.

He had tried so hard to shut the entire world out.  It worked for awhile.  And then he met Ramona.  It hadn't been easy, but she had never given up on him.  And even as he tried desperately to spare her the pain he would surely cause her, an equally desperate part of him knew he needed her.  It scared the shit out of him, but the thing you are most afraid of is always the thing you want the most.  And what he wanted, more than anything, was to be loved. 

*     *     *     *     *     *     *
He had done it.  Tuck had found a legitimate job, serving as a grease monkey at a small garage.  He learned several tasks, such as adjusting brake valves, changing oil and working on rear differentials.  He was always filthy by the time he went home, but in that dirty garage, his face streaked with sweat and his hands calloused, he had found a small sense of accomplishment.  

Ramona was completing her Associate's degree at Hidden Springs Community College.  She hoped to use the credits she had earned to transfer to a University, earning her Bachelor of Science, majoring in Biology.  More than anything, she wished to become an oncologist some day, to be able to help people like her grandmother.  A diagnosis didn't always mean a death sentence and new discoveries were being made every day.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *
It had been one of those days for Tuck.  He had been under a Jeep trying to loosen a bolt when it had broken off, getting rust in his eye.  Always the rebel, he had never been one for protective eyewear.  You would have thought he would have learned his lesson after all this time but he was tired.  He had flushed radiators, installed new brake pumps, even tinkered with an ignition switch or two.  All he wanted was to drive home, take a hot shower and fall into bed.  He wanted to pretend that this was all a bad dream, but he couldn't.  This was his life now.  

As he was dragging himself to his locker to get his things, his phone rang.

"What's up, Jay?"

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

"So, what did you want to talk to me about?"

I was standing in front of the man I loved, in the place where we had begun, about to deliver news that would surely end it all.  We had made a nice life for ourselves.  Sure, we weren't eating iced lobster and caviar every night for dinner and it would be a long time before we could afford a vacation home in the Hamptons, but the bills were getting paid.  In eight or so years, after I graduated  from medical school and became a full-fledged doctor, everything would be perfect.  There was only one problem... 

At first, I thought it was a stomach virus, something I ate.  But every morning, for the past two weeks, my breakfast had made a miraculous reappearance and I was forced to my knees to make penance to the porcelain god.  While waiting on the results of the pregnancy test, I felt like I didn't even need to wait for the two little lines to appear that would seal our fates.  I somehow knew.  We were having a baby.  And knowing how Tuck felt about family, how hard it was to make him love me, I feared the worst.  He'd leave me, run back to Yume no Shima.  I'll admit, termination crossed my mind for the past month or so since I had found out.  But at fourteen weeks along, I was set in the decision to have this child, with or without him.

My pulse racing, I tried desperately to swallow the Titanic-sized lump in my throat.  Well this was it.

"I-I...", I stammered, searching for the right words.  He was looking up at me expectantly.  Patiently.  Lovingly.  I wanted to remember his face at the moment for the rest of my life.  I wanted to remember what it felt like to be loved by him.  There was only way to tell him.  Some news can only be told by ripping the Band-Aid off.  

"I'm pregnant, Tuck."

Bracing for his reaction, I was quite surprised when he picked me up, twirling me around.

"That's incredible!" he shouted.  "Fan-freaking-tastic!  Imagine Ramona, we're going to have a little us running around!  How far are you along?  How are you feeling?  How did this even happen?"

I burst into giggles, almost insane from the relief that I was feeling.  This had hardly been the reaction I had anticipated.  "I'm a couple of months along and I feel great.  As far as how it happened, I'll assume the usual way."

He set me down, staring at me thoughtfully.  His expression was one I had never seen before.  It had a kind of softness and vulnerability with it.  

"You know," he said quietly.  "I was born trash.  The town I lived in, my family, my friends...I was raised to believe I would never have anything better, could never expect to be anything better than what was in front of me.  I was this little punk ass, poor in every sense of the word.  Like a beggar child, I'd watch as everyone around me got things that they wanted...attention, affection, love.  So I told myself that it was just easier to pretend like I didn't want them."

Tuck paused, blinking rapidly.  His voice had gotten husky and if I didn't know better, I would have thought he was choking up.  "When I met you, I felt like everything I had ever wanted, had ever spent lying awake at night thinking about, were yours to give.  Imagine a street rat, looking in the window of a bakery.  And in that bakery, were rolls, doughnuts, cakes.  All I had to do was come in from the cold.  But I was stubborn.  I hurt you, shut you out.  But you never gave up, did you?  You never closed your bakery.  You kept the doors open, knowing that some day, I would walk through them and I would be yours forever."

His eyes now shone with an unmistakable wetness, but he was no longer trying to hide it.  His gaze was steady and determined, not wavering for a second, not even when he slowly, deliberately, sunk to one knee.  "I loved you, even when I thought I no longer knew what love was.  I didn't want to, but I couldn't help it.  I've always loved you and I know I always will.  I don't have a ring at the moment, but I just want to do this, right here, right now."  

Tuck cleared his throat.  "Ramona Morgan Bergdorf, will you marry me?"

It took me a second for my mind to process everything he had said.  I had never heard him talk like that before.  Sure, he was smooth, but this speech had truly come from the heart.  It was genuine, heartfelt, with no  trace of con.  I could only gape at him.

Then Tuck grinned, looking more like his normal self.  "C'mon, Bright Eyes, let me make an honest woman out of you."

I took a deep breath.  "Yes.  Yes, Tucker Whitney, I will marry you."

He smirked.  "Now that wasn't so hard, was it?"

We walked home, like lovers out of a storybook.  There had never been a more perfect day...

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Three weeks later, I nervously climbed the steps to City Hall, wondering what was waiting for me at the top.  Tuck had told me to meet him here and to wear my best dress.  

I was feeling especially good that day.  Barely showing, pregnancy seemed to suit me well.  Classes were almost over for the semester and I had signed the paperwork to take a leave from the college for at least the next year.

Honestly, I was thinking more about my studies than my fiance's ominous request.  But as I reached the last step, I suddenly lost the ability to breathe.

Tuck was standing there, looking more handsome than I had ever seen him.  He was smiling.

"What are you doing?" I asked, a confused look on my face.

"Well hello to you, too," he said cheekily.

"Seriously," I stared at him curiously.  "What's with the cryptic note I found on the refrigerator this morning?"

Tuck beamed.  "Last night I thought, I can't possibly wait another day.  I HAVE to make her mine.  And today, you will be.  Ramona, when we leave today, you will be my wife and I will be the happiest man in the world.  I apologize for the lack of fanfare, but I'm hoping the romanticism of the situation makes up for it?"

I chortled.  "So it does.  Well, we're engaged why not?  Let's go get married!"

He offered me his arm and I took it happily.  This was it.  Before we walked through the door, I cast a sideways glance at him.  "I hope you haven't been waiting very long?"  

Tuck gave me a funny look.  "More than you'll ever know."

When we emerged some time later as Mr. and Mrs. Whitney, I knew that all concepts of previous perfect days had been wrong.  Because this, this was the greatest feeling I had ever known and nothing could possibly be better.  I had finally found someone who wouldn't leave me or die.  I had found my other half.  I was loved.  And there is nothing that could ever compare to that.  Nothing.

"A man reserves his true and deepest love not for the species of woman in whose company he finds himself electrified and enkindled, but for that one in whose company he may feel tenderly drowsy." - George Jean Nathan

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Those good days...the best days, even.  As the months flew by and my tummy grew, my heart swelled to match as my love for Tuck soon included our unborn baby.

In no time at all it seemed, our child decided to make his or her entrance into the world.  

And we were ready.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

"What's wrong with him?  What's wrong with our baby?"

Dr. Laura, the family's obstetrician, smiled kindly at Tuck, the kind of smile that could never be taught in medical school, but the one that was learned over time and honed from years of dealing with distraught family members, soothing their fears, quieting their worries.  

"Baby Whitney is experiencing what is known as meconium aspiration so we will be keeping him on for a couple of days for observation."


"He wasn't getting enough oxygen while he was still in the uterus and some of the meconium (feces) got into his lungs.  His lungs were swollen and his Agpar score was low.   We have placed him on a breathing machine  and will continue to monitor him in NICU until we are sure that all traces of meconium have been removed from his system and he can breathe on his own," explained Dr. Laura.

He exhaled sharply.  "So he's going to be alright?"

Dr. Laura nodded.  "Congratulations, Tucker, on your beautiful baby boy.  Hopefully you and Ramona will be able to take him home soon."

"He's going to be alright," Tuck told his wife, weak from relief.  "Our baby is going to be fine."  The stress of his job, the hospital bills and the new baby had been weighing on him greatly.  Health complications would only have put further burden on their already fragile financial obligations.

Ramona had been there for the past hour, just staring at their baby.  "I want to name him Conner."

"Why Conner?"

"He just looks like one," she said with a shy smile.

"Okay," he conceded.  "Conner Whitney.  I like it."  They stood there for awhile, watching Dr. Laura tend to him.  While she was caught up in the euphoria of new motherhood, he could only continue to stress.  Even though Conner was okay, the monetary strains were worrisome.  After all, Ramona would want to go back to school eventually and then there would be daycare to worry about.  The funds Marilyn had left for college would only go so far.  How would he support them on the small salary he made as a mechanic?

There was only one solution.  And as much as he hated it, he told himself it was for the good of his family.  

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

"Good to see you, Tuck.  I knew you'd be back."


  1. >.> Tuck. Don't make me hurt you...

    :D Yay! Babies, I loved the low key wedding.

    The hospital location was perfect Lauren.


  2. They just look perfect together. gosh. <3
    but why Tuck, why?! this can not go well. ><
    great work as always Lauren, cant wait to read the next chapter.

  3. Aww thank you. I love them together...and even though things are about to get REALLY ugly, it's easier to write than the mushy stuff!

  4. Great chapter! I had a feeling he would go back to his old "friends".

  5. I have become ridiculously addicted to this blog!
    Can't wait to read more!

  6. When are we going to hear more about Tuck and Ramona and their baby? I keep checking this page to see if the story has continued!

  7. Aww...thank you! I'm actually working on the next six chapters so hopefully a new chapter will be up this week. RL has been insane and I'm only just now getting back into writing.