Warning: ** EMETOPHOBE WARNING ** This fic contains scenes of v-ing, including some phonetically-rendered "noises" in the first few lines.
Author's Notes: This fic is set roughly a month after Cory and Lynn's return from honeymooning in Kansas and Ireland. What can I say, when I saw the mood theme, the obvious popped into my head.
An odd, cough-like noise woke Cory Marshall from a lovely dream in which he was crossing a stage to accept the Nobel Prize in medicine, his long years of work in pediatrics finally rewarded by an accolade from his peers. Sure, his patients and their parents were always grateful for what he did, but a Nobel.../p>
"Bluugghhhh..." The coughing had turned into a more recognizable sound, one Cory preferred not to think about. When he turned his head to the left to see if Lynn had heard it, too, he saw only an empty pillow, and blankets tossed back into a tangled line.
Cory rubbed the sleep from his eyes and tried his best to force his own stomach into stainless-steel rigidity as he set his feet down on the hardwood floor of the bedroom and forced himself to walk toward the bathroom. Being an emetophobe was probably stupid-bordering-on-insane for a pediatrician, but the very sound of someone else throwing up made his own stomach knot and roll uncomfortably. And if he happed upon it in a movie - well, he didn't want to think back on the few surprises he'd gotten.
"Lynn? You okay, sweetie?" He hung on to the door frame, his toes curling on the cool tile of the floor while his heels rested on wood. His wife of only a few months was hunched over the bowl of the toilet, hanging on as if the entire bathroom was a pitching, yawing boat and the porcelain was her best support.
"Yeah," she gasped out, turning her head up and to the side. Her eyes were streaming with tears, and her nose looked a bit red and moist.
"Let me find a washcloth, and I'll help you get cleaned up." Cory was glad for the opportunity to dash somewhere else, even though he damned himself for the thought as he took two washcloths from the linen closet and came back to the bathroom. By that time, Lynn was sitting on the floor, her knees pulled up to her chest.
"Did you eat something weird last night?" Cory ran cool water over the first washcloth, wrung it out until it was damp, rather than dripping, and knelt down to swipe the cloth gently over Lynn's face, concentrating on her mouth before moving on to her eyes and under her nose.
"No, I ate exactly the same thing you did." Her voice was breathy and a bit hoarse.
"Getting a migraine?" Cory knew that nausea and vomiting could be part of the prodrome, or pre-migraine list of symptoms.
"Nope." Lynn cleared her throat, smiled weakly when Cory exchanged the damp washcloth for a dry one and swept that softly over her cheeks. "Mmm."
"Mmm, that's nice, or 'mmm, I'm gonna throw up again'?"
"Mmm, that's nice. You should become a doctor - you have a good bedside manner."
"Toilet-side manner, don't you mean?" Cory tried to inject some humor into the situation. "Here, let's get you standing up. Feel up to it?"
Lynn nodded, accepted her husband's arm wrapped around her and leaned into his strength as they both rose to a standing position. "I'm sorry you had to wake up to this." She knew of her husband's phobia, and was sympathetic to his distress, even though he was making an effort to tamp it down for her sake.
"Hey, most days, I'm the one who wakes you up with my sneezing." It had become a routine for them in the two months since they'd come back from their honeymoon and set up a household together: Cory would wake up with the sunrise, stretch briefly while he was still in bed, then reach for the handkerchief he kept under his pillow, trying to get up and sneak out into the kitchen or living room before his morning allergies erupted. Usually, he'd make it halfway to the doorway before he had to press the cloth tight under his nose, grimacing as his breath rushed out in staccato "chhh!" noises.
"Bless you," Lynn would offer in lieu of a "Good morning."
This morning, however, as Cory escorted his bride back to the bedroom and waited until she had lain down before he pulled up the covers and placed them gently over her as if she was a fragile Faberge egg, Lynn said neither. She still felt a bit queasy, but not to the point of throwing up again.
"Let me go see if we have any ginger ale in the 'fridge. You can wait until it goes flat, then drink it. That'll take the edge off your nausea." Cory headed for the kitchen before Lynn could say anything, but paused on the threshold of the bedroom, pulled in a deep breath, and lifted a cupped hand to his face. "Huh-tchhh! Tchhh! Uhb-tchhh!"
"Well, thank goodness some order has been restored to the universe," Lynn offered once Cory had stopped sneezing. "Bless you."
"Thanks." He sniffled, scrubbed at his nose with the knuckles of his left hand, then went off in search of ginger ale. A few minutes later, he returned to the bedroom, carrying a sweating aluminum can and a plastic tumbler.
"And what do you think you're doing?" He set both can and glass down on his nightstand, scowling at Lynn as she pulled on a bra, fastened it, then put on a blouse over it.
"Getting ready for work?" She fastened the buttons quickly, effortlessly, then turned to the closet for a skirt.
"I feel fine, now." She shrugged, found an acceptable skirt and stepped into it. "Button me, please?" Having someone available to help zip, button, or otherwise assist in getting clothes on - or off - was a minor but sweet perk of marriage, Lynn was finding.
"You're not going to - you know?" Cory asked without mentioning "the word" to Lynn.
"Nope, I feel great." And she did, oddly enough, Always, in the past, when her stomach had been upset enough that she threw up, she'd felt nauseated for the rest of the day. Now, however, even without the ginger ale, she was clear and steady.
"Okay, if you say so." Cory didn't want to question it, in part because he didn't relish thinking about his wife vomiting again. "I'll just go put this back in the refrigerator." He picked up the can and walked it back into the kitchen, placing it back on the top shelf of the fridge where he'd found it.
The rest of the day, and the evening, passed without incident. Cory made his rounds at the hospital, feeling a bit more settled in his residency and able to exchange friendly greetings with more-familiar nurses and fellow doctors on the surgical floor. Lynn pursued her usual bench work, searching for some new, useful compound in a variety of tropical plant specimens that she'd been working with for the past five months. When they reunited at the end of the day, it was with the bright, passionate kisses of newlyweds, and even during the mundane chores like washing the dishes after dinner, Cory made sure that his hand accidentally brushed Lynn's when he reached for another dish to dry.
The next morning, however, and the morning after that, when Cory once again was the one to wake up to the unaccustomed (and to his mind, terrifying) sound of his wife gasping and retching in the bathroom, he ran first to the linen closet to fetch washcloths, then went into the bathroom to hold Lynn's long, heavy auburn braid back from her face as a last wave of nausea pitched her forward. It almost seemed to get easier to bear, the third morning it happened, as if his phobia had short-circuited from sheer repetition, but in other ways, Cory was even more concerned that something might be desperately wrong with his wife.
"I'm fine," she assured him, as soon as he'd made his fears known. "It's nothing to be worried about. I'm a little nauseated in the mornings, but then it goes away in about half an hour."
"You're sure? I know a great gastroenterologist you could see. Doctor Christie is a big hit with a lot of the kids at the hospital. Funny guy."
"Cory." Lynn shook her head, smiled admonishingly. "I'm a little old for a pediatrician. And anyway, if I'm going to see a gastro, I'll go to the one Rose sees, Barto-something. She says he's fine with a capital f."
"Looks aren't everything. What about brains?"
Lynn cupped her hands around Cory's face, tapped her fingers lightly on his cheeks. "You have both, sweetie. Now, could you help with this necklace?" Although she'd dismissed her husband's concerns fairly easily, Lynn had worries of her own, and spent over half of her next lunch break scouring the aisles of the local drug store, snatching up three different boxes and flinging them into her shopping basket in a gesture of faux disinterest, adding a candy bar she really shouldn't eat and a ditzy fashion magazine she detested to add to the illusion of a casual shopping trip.
Later, after the dishes had been done and Cory was sitting in the living room glued to an article on vascularized free flaps for reconstructive surgery, Lynn went into the bathroom and locked the door behind her, setting the contents of all three boxes on the vanity countertop which surrounded the sink.
"Good heavens, it'd take a degree in chemistry to puzzle out all of these instructions!" Lynn fumed as she perused all of the leaflets, then laughed at herself when she realized that she had that degree. And everything did boil down to a simple chemical reaction, even though all three tests claimed to be "the most accurate" or "tells you soonest" and tried to one-up each other with "easy to read" or "mistake-proof" results.
Fifteen minutes, and the results of two cups of tea, later, Lynn was staring at one stick with two neon pink stripes, one flat plastic box with a plus sign, and another gizmo with, of all things, a happy face. A brief wave of nausea stole back over her, but it didn't have quite the character or force of the early-morning toilet appreciation sessions. She breathed in slowly, deliberately, then forced the breath back out of her lungs through lips that had rounded themselves into an O.
With a shaking hand, Lynn unlocked the bathroom door, then turned the knob and pushed the door open a foot. "Cory?" Her first question was barely a whisper, and she had to take in a deeper breath to try again. "Cory? Can you come in here a minute?"
Her husband was at the bathroom door less than a minute later, mildly winded by his stampede from the living room to the bathroom. "Are you going to be sick again? Should I go get the wash -" He fell short, noticed the three test kits on the counter and turned a little green himself.
"Are those...? Did they come up . . . ?"
"Everything's coming up baby booties and lollipops." Lynn thought for a moment that it would be her turn to fetch the washcloths and pat down her husband's face with cool water. Instead, Cory's shocked expression turned slowly into a smile to rival the happy face on the test strip, then outdid it.
"A baby..." He stared at the test kits again, his smile widening further.
"Our baby..." Cory waved his arms briefly, not knowing whether to sweep his wife up in a hug or to refrain out of fear of injuring the tiny spark of life within her, then settled for placing his hands protectively around her shoulders.
"In about seven and a half months, yes." Lynn pressed up against Cory, sweeping him up in a dizzying twirl that carried them out of the bathroom, through the bedroom, and out into the kitchen area.
Cory plopped with a thud into a kitchen chair, closing his eyes tight. "Oh, man."
"With all that spinning - is there such a thing as evening sickness?"
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