“Oh, why don’t we just run our own television show there and compete with my father’s huh?” Faye asked sarcastically.
“Not a bad idea,” Rory said, still munching on some food. “We’ve got a lot of high profile people in this family that could help. I’m in a band. Caleb does music too. Gene preforms. You, Eddie and Tom cook.” Rory held his fork up. “Don’t look at me like that, Eddie. I’m just saying why not go big and take down his entire brand?”
“Sim Star is so toxic,” Tom agreed. “It makes a mockery of talented people. We should take it down. Could we really run our own show?”
Faye and Eddie looked at each other, both nauseous with the idea of putting themselves in the spotlight. “I turned down my Father’s offer for a reality show, Tom. Why would I want to bring that sort of attention into my life?”
“It’s on your terms this time,” Tom said. “Anyway, we’re just teasing. One step at a time. Here, let me help clean up this time.”
Tom stood up and began gathering dishes. Faye realized the nausea from before hadn’t been from Rory’s suggestion that they run a TV show but because of something else. Her hand rested on her stomach. She looked around wildly, trying to find a way out of this situation. She felt the need to vomit but didn’t want Eddie to think it was because of his cooking. What was it?
“I uh…” But it was too late. Vomit flew out of Faye’s mouth and onto the floor beside her. She was horrified.
“Are you okay?” Tom asked, rushing to her side.
Eyes wide, she rushed from her seat and out into the cold fresh air. They were having a nice conversation and here she vomited right on the floor of Tom’s brother’s house. This had never happened before. She had an iron stomach. Faye Ferrari didn’t get sick because of food.
Eddie swayed a bit on his feet. He could hear Rory saying something he couldn’t hear over the rushing in his ears. He had to get away before he too added his own vomit to the mess on the floor. He rushed towards the door following Faye outside.
Rory stared after him laughing softly “I knew that was coming.” Turning to Tom he asked “which do you prefer vomit or dishes?”
Dragging his eyes from the door he grimaced at his brother-in-law. “I should check on Faye” he stammered. He’d never seen Faye become so ill so quickly before.
“Eddie will take care of her” Rory assured him “she’ll be ok. The best thing we can do is clean this mess up.”
“I guess” he sounded unsure “I really should check on her.”
“Trust me right now she won’t appreciate you hovering over her” Rory said “give her a chance to get some fresh air then you can check on her.”
Tom nodded trusting the older man. “I guess I’ll take vomit duty” he grabbed a roll of paper towels to clean up most of the chunks before getting the mop out.
“I’d have taken dishes” Rory chuckled lifting Hannah from her highchair. “I’ll be back to help. I don’t want Hannah getting into that mess.”
Nodding Tom only half listening as he went to look out the window. He was reassured finding his brother and Faye talking on the porch.
“This is so much better” Eddie breathed deeply of the cool fresh morning air. Kneeling beside Faye who was sitting slumped over like a discarded doll “are you alright?”
“I’m so sorry” she mumbled hiding her face behind her hands. “This has never happened before.”
“It’s alright” he assured her. Tentatively he put a hand on her shoulder.
Looking up, her eyes red from crying “I don’t know why I’m so emotional. I’m never like this.” Sniffing she dragged a hand across her eyes drying the tears. “I promise it wasn’t your food. It was delicious. I wasn’t lying about that.” She felt the need to reassure the soft spoken man. She didn’t want him feeling bad or worrying he had given her food poisoning.
“How long have you been feeling like this” he asked sitting beside her.
“I don’t know. It’s been coming on so gradual” she closed her eyes thinking “last night I was nauseous. Now this. I don’t know maybe I have the flu.”
“Or it’s something else” Eddie said. He looked out across the yard remembering back to right before he learned he was pregnant with Hannah.
“What do you mean” Faye asked him staring at him refusing to acknowledge that she knew what he was getting at.
Eddie fumbled with his hands, not wanting to upset the girl even further but also trying to find the right words. “Don’t say it,” Faye mumbled. “I can’t be pregnant. That’s impossible.”
“You and Tom haven’t…?”
“Oh, we have,” Faye said. “But I can’t be pregnant.” She shook her head, hoping to will the possibility away with sheer thoughts alone.
“Why not?” Eddie asked. “Is it something biological preventing you from having a child?”
“No!” She shook her head. “I just can’t have a baby. It just wouldn’t be right,” She said.
Faye let those words ruminate in the air. It was something she had wanted to tell Tom. No babies. Ever. Her genes were not to be passed down to anyone. The Ferrari genes were tainted. She believed in that wholeheartedly. She wasn’t a perfect individual. On the outside sure, she was beautiful and her skills in the kitchen were unmatched. But it was just that, the outside. On the inside she was rotten to her core. Selfish, afraid and arrogant. Whatever she touched got destroyed.
It didn’t matter that Tom’s amazing genes would be passed down. It didn’t matter that he was donating the Bennett traits, kindness, understanding, compassion and patience. It didn’t matter when her mother was pregnant.
Carly was as sweet as pie and Faye still got the short end of the stick- the Ferrari namesake, signature brown hair, tan skin and ability to cook like no other. She could command the attention of whoever she had wanted when she walked into a room. She could turn heads and stun people with her brisk attitude, no nonsense ways and skill under pressure.
None of that mattered though. Because a person like that was shallow. Looking at Eddie beside her- he wasn’t as confident as she was. He wasn’t as aggressive. He was well off but he didn’t dress the part. He was what she would want her child to be like. Compassionate, caring, smart, intuitive…
“I can’t raise a child,” Faye whispered. “I’m not mother material. I’m afraid I would be just like my father. Or my mother for that matter. For all of her good traits, she was never there. They were both so busy that growing up I couldn’t do anything but stay in the kitchen.”
“That sounds like a failure on their part. But look at you now,” Eddie said with a smile. “You’re successful.”
“Successful but empty,” Faye said. “This child…” She placed a hand on her stomach. “If I open up a restaurant with your brother, or run a show or whatever…if I choose to keep my fame, I can’t raise this baby as it deserves to be raised.”
“Why not?” Eddie asked. “Rory is doing it. He’s on tour a lot, makes music, but always puts Hannah first. You have Tom to help. If you don’t want to give up cooking, having a child won’t be in the way. Keep cooking. But instead of doing it for yourself, you’re doing it for them.”
“Is that why you write now?” Faye asked.
“For Hannah,” Eddie said. He smiled at Faye. “Listen, you’re not a product of your environment or your genes for that matter. You know that, because you took the next step to come here with Tom. You’re making an effort. You have Rory and I, and Tom. Hannah would love a cousin to play with too.”
“Tom would make a good dad,” Faye said, thinking about him holding a toddler in his arms. It brought a smile to her lips. “And they would have a cousin to play with and not be alone. I quite like that idea too.”
“Take a test to be sure,” Eddie said. “And if it’s positive, don’t be too afraid to raise that child. Raising a child will always be scary. I’m still scared when Hannah cries in the middle of the night. That will never go away, but if I let those fears consume me, she would suffer.”
“I have to work on it,” Faye said with a sigh. “But I want to be a good mom. I really do.”
“Then be a good mom,” Eddie said with a grin. “You can do it.”
Faye could feel herself returning Eddie’s grin. Her hand holding her still flat stomach. “I never thought I’d be happy over the prospect of becoming a mom. I …. Thank you!” She threw her arms around him in an uncharacteristic display of affection and joy. She could almost feel the shackles of the past falling from around her like she was shedding her cocoon that she had been living in.
“You’re welcome” Eddie squeezed her tight “now we just need an excuse to go into town. I’m guessing you don’t want to tell Tom until after you have the test results.”
“Oh no” she shook her head “I don’t want to get his hopes up.”