Aaron could hear them yelling at each other, and just to make sure they didnít kill each other, he silently crept up and peered out from behind the boughs. What he saw filled his heart with joy, instead of being on two sides of the thicket, they were in each otherís arms. Nigel was seated on his haunches with Sydney drawn closely up onto his lap, rocking back and forth while he stroked her hair. A touching picture, he thought, but he knew that things would be far from settled.
Knowing well of Sydneyís independent nature, the one that demanded the space to be herself and to fly without restrictions, he knew she was not one to just lie down and die. Aaron liked to think he could gage a manís character well, and what he understood about Nigel was this... Here was a good person at the core, someone who could, and would always rise to the occasion when called upon, no matter what the task. He would most certainly make sure Sydney and his child were looked after, but Aaron feared he would probably resent her deceitfulness for a long time coming. Here was a young man who openly wore his heart on his sleeve, and once you damage that, well... At least they were consoling each other, now that would be a pleasant start.
There was no other choice, they had to share a tent that night. Nigel quietly argued with Aaron that he would much prefer staying in with him than Sydney at the moment. All talk of finding the Ark had ceased between them. The twosome had not really spoken much since earlier in the day, and frankly, Nigel wasnít quite ready to bury the hatchet just yet. Aaron, being the very pillar of knowledge, or so he thought, managed to coax the reluctant Brit back into his original sleeping quarters by preaching about his new responsibility to Sydney and that child.
"You have to be with her, even if you donít like it sometimes..."
"But Iím bloody ticked off Aaron, this was the most irresponsible thing sheís ever done!" He countered, not looking forward to spending the night with the one person he thought would never lie to him. All he wanted to do was curl up in a ball and lick his own wounds, not cater to the one who inflicted the original pain.
"So she can be irresponsible, opinionated, even down right domineering every now and then, not to mention used to her own way and knowing how to get it. I've got news for you buddy, all women are like that, and you know what else? Theyíre ten times worse in this condition! That hormonal thing does nasty things to their brains boy... It twists things, like everything that comes out of your mouth, and makes problems out of nothing at all! You just wait!" He laughed. "Weather she admits to it or not, that woman needs you. She would be lost without you kiddo, I know that for a fact. I watched you two and I know what I saw. Sydney is the worst when it comes to telling anyone when she needs something. Sheíd rather wax off her eyebrows than admit a weakness, and Nigel, donít think for one moment she isnít viewing this pregnancy as a weakness..."
The look on Nigelís face told Aaron that he had gotten through to the young man, but to what extent, he wasnít sure. It was a confused, horrified look, mixed in with a little 'oh my God what have I done'...
The next two days proved to be rough ones, and not just because of the climb. Sydneyís condition was now common knowledge, despite her verbal protests to Nigel and Aaron about her privacy. Both men thought it in her best interest that everyone knew, just as a precautionary measure. They needed to make sure she would be looked out for, because neither one of them trusted her not to take foolish risks on her own. It was just the nature of the beast.
While Nigel still loved her with all his heart, he was having trouble trusting her on many levels. He did, however, dote on her every need and want. This particular nuance soon aggravated Sydney, but she allowed it to continue for his sake. She knew he needed to do something to feel useful, and part of the equation she had previously excluded him from. She was increasingly becoming more tired a lot sooner, and the entire entourage had to take several breaks an hour to accommodate her. The air was a lot thinner way up here than it was in the lower levels, and her body was definitely feeling it. She wandered over to an exposed rock and sat down, lastly leaning her head back and closed her eyes.
"Can I get you some water Sydney?" Nigel asked for the third time that morning.
"No, for the umpteenth time. Thank you."
"All right." He sat beside her, hanging himself back, and mimicking the way she was positioned, looked up. "Anything interesting up there?"
Sydney smiled. "Just the wild blue yonder..." She knew he was trying to break the ice, bless his heart. After all she put him through, he still wanted to be around her.
"So, uh, how far along are you?" Nigel asked, hoping she had some idea. "I mean, we are going to have to talk about this right?" Turning to look at Sydney, his eyes softened and he sighed. "I donít want to stay angry Syd, itís counterproductive, and Iíll just miss you way too much."
That was one of the sweetest things anyone had ever said to her. "You would miss me?" Another smile in less than two minutes, Nigel was a bloody miracle worker.
Go to Part Twenty Four.