Oh my God . . .
“Steph.” Calla reached over, placing her hand on mine. “You all right?”
I blinked, sucking in air as the faces of the girls came back into view. “Yeah. Yes. I’m totally okay.”
“Are you sure?” Concern settled into Roxy’s features. “You look really pale.”
Avery tucked a strand of hair back behind her ear. “Maybe you’re coming down with something?”
Beside her, Teresa nodded. “There’s a really bad virus going around. Half of the school seems to have it. I hope that’s not it.”
“Probably just a little bug.” Roxy leaned back, looking like she wanted to pull the collar of her shirt over her mouth and nose.
“I think it might be,” I said hoarsely, but those words felt like a lie, a really big one, because the mental calculations I’d just done in a rush meant something completely different than coming down with a bug or a virus.
The girls started chatting again, their voices an excited hum as the food arrived, but I didn’t hear what they were saying. As I glanced up, my eyes met Avery’s and my stomach twisted once more. I quickly dropped my gaze to my untouched plate of food and started counting again. I counted four more times, and each time I came up with the same thing.
My period was two and a half weeks late.
The rest of breakfast with the girls was a blur. My food had been mostly untouched and I couldn’t follow the conversation. Roxy knew me well enough to be concerned. When we left, she walked to my car, asking if I was okay. I barely managed a mumbled reply before driving off.
It couldn’t be.
There had to be another reason why I was having symptoms so similar to Avery’s, and my period being late had to be a coincidence. It had been at least six months between the last time I had sex and the night I spent with Nick. Plus, he had used a condom. And double plus, I was on the pill.
But . . . oh my God . . . I knew there were a couple of times when I hadn’t taken pills because my head was all over the place. Since I wasn’t having sex—didn’t have any plans to have sex until I met Nick—I hadn’t been stressed out about missing them.
Like one really could just plan sex.
My heart raced sickeningly fast. What if— I cut that thought off. I couldn’t even let it finish. The idea horrified me. Not because I didn’t want kids. I did want kids, you know, like years from now, when I was settled in my career and married. Yeah, the married part would be nice.
Fuck. Having a boyfriend would be nice.
This was not how I planned my life. Not that I had a detailed plan, but I figured after graduating from college, I would spend a couple of years in my current job, putting my time in, and be one of those über sophisticated chicks who actually traveled when they had a vacation. West Coast. Europe. Asia. I wanted to see the whole world. Eventually I would meet a guy. We would date, get engaged, and have a massive wedding, and maybe by the time I reached my thirties, I’d think about having a baby.
Not before I was settled in my career, traveled the world, got married, and my massively, ridiculous wedding.
Oh my God, this couldn’t be happening. There was a good chance I was going to puke all over myself.
Now I sat in the parking lot of a drugstore, my knuckles aching from how tightly I was clutching the steering wheel. I stared at the entrance, unable to force myself to get out of the car. I needed to. I needed to go in and buy a pregnancy test, because a pregnancy test would prove that I wasn’t pregnant and I was just overreacting. Stress could make your period late. A ton of things could make your period late, not just a fertilized egg.
Oh my God—a fertilized egg.
I did not have a fertilized egg in me.
Woman-ing up, I snatched my purse off the passenger seat and stalked into the drugstore with a single-minded focus. Bypassing the makeup aisles, I headed straight for the section most women didn’t like to linger in—past the tampons and the pads and a ton of other things I never understood why we needed so many different brands for and stopped in front of a slew of boxes.
My eyes widened.
Holy no babies, why were there so many pregnancy tests? I was frozen as I scanned them. E.p.t. Clear Blue. Ovulation Test—what the heck? E.p.t. Early. Why were there so many? My hands shook as I picked one up and flipped it over. My vision blurred as I read the back. I couldn’t believe I was buying a pregnancy test.
I’d never had to buy one before.
This could not be happening.
Placing the box back, I blindly picked up another and turned it over. The hairs on the back of my neck rose and my stomach dropped to my toes. I glanced around but didn’t see anyone staring at me. I was totally freaking out.
I grabbed another box, started to leave and then whipped around, picking up another box. Just in case . . . I experienced user error.
My face was burning like I’d been under a heat lamp as I carried my purchases to the front and a slim woman with deep grooves in her face, around her eyes and mouth, waited.
Her brows rose when I dumped my armload on the counter and she glanced up at me, a wry grin on lips covered with faded, purple lipstick. Picking up one box, she offered a throaty chuckle. “You can never be too sure about some things, huh?”
I wanted to hide under the bin of candy behind me.
“Nothin’ to be embarrassed about, honey.” She scanned one pregnancy test and then plopped it in a bag. “Most people buy several boxes the first time.”
Was it that obvious this was my first time? Wait a second. Was I seriously having my first time? As the boxes went in the bag and I was given my total, I realized somewhat numbly that whether I was prepared for it or not, this was really happening.
I could be pregnant.
As soon as I got back to my apartment, I placed the potentially life-changing bag on the counter and walked into my kitchen. I kept all medicines, along with my birth control pills, in a cabinet. Anyplace else, I would end up forgetting about them.
Taking a deep breath, I opened the purple plastic container, smoothing my fingers over the rows of small pills. I counted back and then counted back again. Squeezing my eyes shut, I cursed. The dates I missed . . .
They were important dates.
Snapping the container closer, I placed it back and then dropped my elbows onto the counter. I scrubbed my hands down my face. My thoughts whirled in a continuous circle until one main one wiggled free. If I . . . If I was what I feared, did taking birth control pills after . . . after conception effect the baby?
I didn’t know.
Frankly, I knew very little about the whole ins and outs of pregnancy. I was an only child. No one I knew at my age, with the exception of Avery, had been pregnant. It wasn’t like women were born with this knowledge, and I seriously doubted many moms decided to hand down that kind of information until it was necessary.
Maybe I miscounted the pills.
Lifting my head, I picked up the purple container and counted again. Breathing felt a little iffy as I finally made myself stop. No matter how many times I counted, the end result wasn’t going to change.
But even if my missed pills occurred during epically bad timing, Nick had used a condom. He had. . . .
Actually, I had felt extraordinarily . . . wet after we had sex. So much so that I thought it had to do with not getting any in a while. Could the condom have broken and that was what I felt? That had never happened to me before, so there was a chance I wouldn’t have recognized it for what it was.