Note: I’m not entirely sure where this one came from, or why it took so long to write. It was an interesting idea that just sprung into life and originally it was meant to be a lot longer, unfortunately what was in my head didn’t work as well on the page so I had to change it.
Ellie let out a moan as her hands twisted into the sheets. Ben’s actions between her legs were always something she loved about him and one hand managed to leave the sheets and find it’s way into his silver flecked hair. It had been eight years, eight long years and they still, still couldn’t keep their hands off each other. There was still a passion, a fire built on pure love that burned between them. Something that left friends jealous, something that meant the only person the other found attractive in the room was of course their other half. Literally the other half because they were meant to be together, everyone they knew said it. Except of course when the television was on and James Nesbit or Nicole Kidman were on screen.
Ellie felt her head grow heavy and her eyes flutter but it had nothing to do with an impending orgasm. This was something else, she was falling asleep, in a way. Her hand fell slack on the side of Ben’s head. Ellie jerked back into reality and groaned loudly which caused Ben to look at her concern etched on his face.
”Did you just fall asleep?” Ben asked her with an eyebrow raised and a hint of humour in his voice.
”No, no, no of course I didn’t.” Ellie protested as Ben kissed her thigh before moving his body up hers leaving gentle kisses along her stomach and chest.
”Did you fall asleep, am I really that bad?” Ben asked a slight humour still in his tone.
”No, I didn’t ok?” Ellie smiled at him and pulled him into a kiss.
When love making was finished and they were lay facing each other, talking about the usual things; cleaning, life, friends, their respective days. Ben looked at her with a concern on his face. It was the third time he’d seen her furrow her brow and shake it off, he was beginning to wonder if the hiccup earlier was more than just that.
”Ellie are you sure you’re ok?” Ben asked brushing some of the hair from her face. Ellie shifted uncomfortably, she knew she wouldn’t be able to hide this from him forever but the longer she put off admitting something was wrong to him, the longer she put off admitting it to herself. She chewed her lip a little and tried to shake it off. How was she supposed to phrase it?
”Ellie please?” Ben asked, no puppy dog eyes now, his playful face had become serious. His brow furrowed at her as he repeated the question again. Ellie looked up at him for a moment, hazel eyes meeting brown for a moment before she took a breath.
”Something’s wrong.” Ellie said solemnly. Something was wrong, she knew it, she’d been feeling it for at least a week but the last two days things had been getting worse and it was worrying her. She was scared and nervous and she didn’t want to admit to anything but now she had to.
”Something? What do you mean?” Ben asked, panic evident in his voice. ”Is it me, is it us?” Ben asked his eyes were darting across her face and trying to get a read of what it was that was bothering her.
”No, no it’s not that, it’s, I’ve-” Ellie paused steadying herself and trying to relax, it was going to sound stupid and he was going to laugh at her for it. What was she getting worked up for it was just a few symptoms, wasn’t it?
”You’ve what?” Ben looked at her. ”You’ve what? Ellie please.” Ben said, he was worried. Ben was older than Ellie and he’d always been a little insecure about what it was exactly Ellie saw in him. She was beautiful, intelligent, loving and fun, she had all these adorable quirks that he loved but he could never understand what she saw in him. He was a blokes bloke, old fashioned. He loved the football and ate too much takeaway, forgot anniversaries and laughed when she was clumsy. Ben was twelve years older than her. Twelve years was a lot when your partner was twenty-nine. Ben had already been married twice and neither had been good for either his self-esteem or him on a whole. It had taken Ben a long time to get past the insecurities of being cheated on and the insecurities about him as a man still plagued him. Ben was unaware that Ellie had a few of the same concerns because she hid them from him well. She knew Ben loved her but he had two wives in the past, not only that but what if he wanted someone older. The fact she couldn’t have children and that her previous arsehole of a boyfriend had used it against her meant she felt insecurities too. It was Ben who vocalised his panic though, not so much now but especially in the early days.
Ben and Ellie had come together through their mutual love of Come Dine With Me. They had both been at the same party, invited by separate groups of people, yet as often happens, found themselves in a wider circle of friends. Two comments later about the narrator of the show and they started talking. Both had recently split from respective partners but they clicked, they could both feel it. Four dates, 12 phone calls, 247 texts, two nights of passion and a day at the seaside later and they were officially a couple. They were perfect for each other, one completed the other.
”Ellie?” Ben asked her again a little more firmly that time.
”I’ve been having symptoms.” She said slowly. Ben’s mind began racing in all sorts of directions, she couldn’t have kids but what if the Doctors were wrong. Positive first then his brain flipped to something more sinister. What if she was sick? Really sick? Not just snuffles where she was on the couch for a week and he kept her supplied with honey and lemon tea accompanied by buttery toast.
”What do you mean symptoms?” He asked his voice catching in his now dry throat.
”I, well,” Ellie paused a moment and looked away from him trying to work out how to vocalise it. ”I’ve been having headaches.”
”You’ve always had headaches.” Ben said but paused at the look on her face. ”Go on.” He added.
”It’s not just headaches, I’ve been feeling dizzy and drowsy. I, I keep getting confused Ben. The other day I forgot how to drive, in the middle of driving. I’ve never panicked so much in my life, I had to pull over onto the hard shoulder. I, I’ve been sick and and I’ve had a few panic attacks too. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” Ellie was close to tears, Ben could see it as she reeled off the list to him. Ben racked his brain trying to contemplate what was happening. A calmness came over him as he looked at her, he could see the fear in her eyes, it was a fear he was trying to crush down inside himself so he could be strong for her.
”Ellie, Ellie look at me.” Ben said rubbing her arm slightly as though reassuring her he was there. ”It’s probably just a virus ok? We’ll get you booked in at the doctor’s first thing tomorrow though ok?” Ben gave her a weak smile. Ellie frowned and replied in a voice that was barely a whisper.
”But what if it’s not? I’m scared Ben.” Ellie admitted.
”I know, I know.” Ben replied as he pulled her close to him, the only thing he could think to do. They couldn’t think about that right now. The truth of the matter was it could just be a virus.
”The surgeries not open until tomorrow night.” Ellie added.
”Then we’ll get you booked in for tomorrow night ok?” Ben kissed the top of her head gently and pulled her close again. In the whole time he’d been with her he’d never seen her look this worried. Not over something potentially serious.
Neither of them slept much that night. Ben tried to push worry from his mind but Ellie couldn’t even attempt that. Now she’d admitted there was something wrong it was hanging over her like an axe waiting to drop. She considered, at 2am, driving herself to A&E and seeing if the doctors would see her. She decided against it though, she’d be waiting around up there forever if she did go.
Ellie called into work sick, there was no way she could teach today. It wouldn’t be a welcome distraction it would just remind her of the impending doctors appointment. Ellie thought about a lot though during the day. She thought about whether it was better not to know, whether it was better to just carry on living in ignorance. She wondered if it could just be a virus but she shook that off. It had to be something more.
Ben’s day at work wasn’t much better. As an architect he was supposed to be working on a few new house designs. His mind was too busy on Ellie though, he couldn’t lose her. He was trying to stay positive but what if it was serious? What then? What if it couldn’t be cured and he lost her? He nearly broke down several times thinking about it over the course of the day. The clock seemed to be mocking him on the wall the ticking seemed too loud and the hands were moving far too slowly.
When Ben eventually got out of work he drove home first to pick up Ellie, she’d wanted to go on the bus but he refused to let her. He didn’t want to meet her there he wanted to take her. When they pulled up outside the surgery Ellie turned to him.
”Ben.” She said slowly, there was a calm confidence in her voice, it was serious though.
”It’ll be ok.” Ben said reassuringly, not quite sure if he believed it himself.
”But, but what if it’s not. Ben look at me.” Ellie said, she seemed calmer than yesterday, because she was. There were a few things she wanted to say before they went in, a few things she wanted to tell him. She’d thought about them all day and all night and she needed to vocalise them. ”Ben if, if it is, if it is the worst case scenario.” Ellie paused and Ben made to protest but she cut him off. ”If it is bad, I don’t, I don’t want it to change us. I-I want you to find someone to-”
”No, no we are not having this discussion.” Ben cut her off.
”Ben please.” Ellie tried again.
”No, no we are not having this conversation! We don’t even know what’s wrong with you! So we are not having any conversations like that.” Ben said firmly, there was an edge in his voice as though he was telling off a child.
Ellie fell silent and Ben nodded. He sighed, turned off the engine and got out of the car before walking around to the other side of the car and holding the door open for Ellie to step out of. She did so, but she eyed him, annoyed that he hadn’t let her finish.
They waited in silence, it was uncomfortable, too clinical and there were too many people in the waiting room. Coughing, itching, sneezing, rubbing heads. Ellie had a little moment of confusion, wondering what she was doing in there, who the people were, why she didn’t recognise them. Fear grasped hold of her heart tightly when she remembered, she didn’t let Ben see it though. Brushed it off with a smile.
Ben squeezed Ellie’s hand as she told the doctor what was wrong, the symptoms. The doctor was a large stocky man, a blonde moustache sitting on his upper lip, glasses and a balding head. There was something reassuring about him, he was warm and friendly enough and didn’t act like they were time wasting. He went through a variety of standard questions and Ellie either nodded or denied what he was asking.
”Now, Ellie, I have to ask this. Have you fallen recently?” The Doctor asked her. ”I know from past experience you can be quite clumsy. Have you had a bump to the head?” He smiled reassuringly at her, a little humour to lighten the tone. Doctor Breeter had been Ellie’s doctor for a long time and he’d lost count of the amount of times she’d been into the surgery with sprained ankles, sprained wrists, broken fingers, split knee’s, bruised hip once or twice. She’d stopped coming to surgery so much and had learned to deal with certain things herself. When she sprained an ankle she strapped it up, when she split her knee, she stuck butterfly stitches on it.
”No, no not that I can think of?” Ellie replied frowning.
”Yes you have.” Ben piped up from next to her, for the first time his hand left her grasp. ”She fell.” He said turning to the Doctor. ”She fell getting out of the shower about three weeks ago. You remember?” He asked her.
”Yeah you laughed at me and then had to bandage me up.” Ellie gave him a small smile.
”Were you unconscious at all?” The Doctor asked her.
”No, no I don’t think so. It was just a bump to the head, I had a cut, big bruise but that was it.” Ellie shook her head waving it off.
”Do you know what’s wrong?” Ben asked the doctor curiously.
”Well, yes and no. Ellie I think you have something called post-concussion. Your symptoms and the fact you fell point me towards that.” The Doctor admitted. There was a but coming, they could both feel it. Ben gripped her arm, the fear that had been slightly alleviated was back and gripping onto him strongly. That but, that pause seemed to go on for eternity. ”But, I can’t be definite so I’d like you to go up to the hospital just to double check. They’ll give you a CT scan, after that I’ll prescribe you with some painkillers for the headache. Post-concussion can last from anything to a few months to a year but it’s nothing to worry about.” The Doctor smiled at them both. ”I’ll put a call through to the hospital, get you an appointment today.” Doctor Breeter added.
Ellie simply nodded in reply and thanked him. The rest of the day and the trip to the hospital seemed to move by in a blur of emotions, relief, panic, fear and then back to relief as they found out it was post-concussion. The car ride home was a lot happier than it had been on the way in as they turned up the music. Ellie couldn’t keep the smile off her face as relief spread through her body. It was like a heavy weight had been taken away from her, the grip on her heart loosened and the fear from earlier disappeared.
”Let’s get takeaway, pizza and chicken.” Ellie said to Ben.
”DVD?” Ben asked her.
”Yeah, let’s go find something.” Ellie smiled at him. ”Let’s get something to drink too.”
”Easy Ellie, still a work night.” Ben grinned.
”Ice cream instead.” Ellie added.
”You know full well you won’t eat all that! You’ll eat like half a takeaway and throw the rest away. Pizza and ice cream, a DVD and hmm bit of music.” Ben said. When they stopped at the red light Ben looked at her for a moment before grabbing her hand and kissing it. ”I love you.” He said a little fiercely. The prospect of losing her this morning had been all to real, it had eaten away at him all day. The relief had made him want to physically collapse into a heap on the floor. He already knew how lucky he was to have Ellie, he already knew how much he loved her but the thought of losing her. The prospect of losing her had just brought everything home. Had highlighted the obvious.
”I love you too.” Ellie replied giving him a warm smile. Ellie watched him as he turned his attention back to the road. She felt a small flutter in the pit of her stomach, she wished she vocalise, wished she could show him how much she loved him but it was impossible. For a moment she saw, as she reflected on the day, exactly what her friends meant when they said they were a little jealous. That they were made for each other. If Ellie was on the outside of this relationship looking in she’d probably be jealous too. For the first time ever, after years of being modest she accepted that for a moment as she looked at him. He loved her and she loved him. She knew that and she liked it, she’d never doubt that for a minute ever again.