“Oh God,” I whispered, my voice sounding incredibly loud in the silent apartment. Reaching up, I tugged on my hair, letting it fall down over my shoulders. “Oh. God.”
Unable to stand still or sit, I walked to where I left my purse and dug out my phone. My fingers hovered over the screen. Who was I going to call? I didn’t feel comfortable ringing my friends from back home, and there was no way in hell I was calling my mom about this, not when I had no idea what was going on.
Clutching the phone to my chest, I went to the couch and sat. I almost called Roxy, but I knew she would be hanging out with everyone most of the day. I thought about calling Yasmine or Denise, but I’d missed my Skype calls with them both the past week, and how could I just spring that on them? And what could I say to them? That I bought a million pregnancy tests after freaking out over what Avery had said? Granted, I had reasons to be freaking out, but still, I knew how that appeared.
I set the phone down on the cushion beside me and closed my eyes. This was not how I expected my lazy Sunday to go. I knew I needed to get this over and done with.
I didn’t move from the couch.
The rest of Sunday afternoon dragged by as I worked up the nerve to even open the first box. It appeared to be a normal run-of-the-mill pregnancy test with a plus meaning pregnant and a minus meaning hallelujah. Definitely no user error there. I started reading the instructions and a choked laugh escaped me.
Do not insert the test stick in your vagina.
Was that seriously an instruction that needed to be given to someone?
Carefully opening the package, I pulled out the stick and walked into my bathroom. I removed the purple cap as my stomach roiled.
My heart pounded like I was running uphill as I did my thing. The only thought in my head was how I awkward this was. Really. When I was done, I snapped the cap back on and gently placed it on the counter of my sink.
Then I ran from my bathroom, like legit sprinted out of the bathroom.
Pacing the length of my living room, I knew I only needed to wait for two minutes, but two minutes turned into five and five minutes turned into ten. I wasn’t ready. Running my hands through my hair, I shook my head. I wasn’t ready to see this.
But what if there was a little, happy negative sign?
But what if there was a really scary plus sign?
I eyed the remaining unused boxes on the counter and kept wearing a path in the hardwood floors. I’d always been so damn careful in the past. I’d never feared the chance of becoming pregnant, and now that there was a possibility I could be, I didn’t know what to do.
Never in my life did I feel so . . . so helpless.
Actually, that wasn’t true. When I was fifteen and there were two men in pristine, dignified uniforms knocking on our front doors. When I stood on the stairs and the blood had drained from my mother’s face when she saw them, I had felt helpless then.
I loathed that feeling, hated the memories it dredged to the surface. Seconds when our whole entire life changed, never to be the same. Air leaked out of me. Coming to a stop in front of the TV, I realized I could be in the very same position, standing on that very razor-sharp edge of monumental change
Or I could just be freaking out.
A good forty minutes had passed since I placed the test on my sink. I needed to go look at it. Get this over with, like I knew I had to. I wasn’t a coward. I could face this, no matter what. Biting down on my lower lip, I charged down the hall and into the bathroom. My reflection in the mirror told me I looked as out of control as I felt. My hair was now all over the place and my eyes were wide, pupils dilated.
I looked like some psycho in a hockey mask was after me.
Shoulders stiffening, I slowly dragged my gaze away from my reflection to the white and purple tipped pregnancy test.
I saw the result.
I couldn’t un-see the result.
Plain as day, there was a very visible symbol that could only mean one thing. Only. One. Thing.
Maybe I let it sit too long. Or maybe I shouldn’t have put a cap on it. I needed to take another one. I had two more.
Hurrying into the kitchen, I picked up the other box. It was more high-tech. Not only did it give you a yes or no, but if it was a yes, it gave an estimated length of pregnancy. I didn’t have to go to the bathroom, though. Rushing to the cabinet, I grabbed a glass and filled it up, and when I finished with that one, I drank another, and then another, and then I waited.
I wasn’t thinking, hadn’t done anything other than force water down my throat. Less than an hour later I took the second test into the bathroom, did my thing, and then placed it next to the first one.
I didn’t leave the bathroom this time.
With my heart in my throat, I eyeballed the test as my hands clenched and unclenched at my sides until the pregnancy showed me the results once more.
The first thing I noticed was two numbers with a dash between them: 2-3.
And above that one word.
Just to start Monday off with a bang, I took the third pregnancy test that morning, and it, too, came back positive. Pregnant. Three tests with the same result, but there was still a tiny part of me that wanted to believe that I had done something wrong, that without a doctor confirming I was pregnant, there was a chance I wasn’t. But I wasn’t dumb nor was I seriously that naive. I knew that when I went to my doctor’s appointment next week, what the three tests had already told me and what I’d been experiencing the last week or so would confirm what I already knew.
And according to the really fancy test, I was two to three weeks past my last ovulation. Meaning I was roughly four to five weeks pregnant. The timing was spot on.
I was actually pregnant.
There was a bun in my oven.
I was knocked up.
Monday and Tuesday at work passed by with me in a numb daze. I don’t even know how I did my job or how I got through Rick’s endless insinuations and leering looks without losing my flipping mind.
My nerves were stretched taut and I felt sick to my stomach when I packed up Tuesday evening. The moment I turned off my computer, my thoughts immediately started swirling around what I was going to do. Should I get in contact with Nick? I hadn’t heard from him since last Wednesday. Should I tell anyone what was happening? Did I need to?
Was I going to go through with this—with this pregnancy? And if so, how would I tell my new boss that in roughly eight months I would be needing maternity leave? Better yet, how could I even raise a child on an income that I lived off comfortably, though that wouldn’t work if I included the cost of caring for a child.
Unaware of even walking to the elevator in the hall, after pushing the button I realized that I wasn’t alone. I glanced to my left. Rick, one half of the Steroid Twins, was standing there. I could barely swallow my sigh of frustration as I eyed him. A black skullcap was pulled down over his ears, and his cheeks were ruddier than normal. As always, his gaze wasn’t on my face. It was on my chest, which was absurd, because between my peacoat and my scarf, there was no way in hell that he could see anything.
God, I had bad timing in all things.
“You heading out?” he asked.
Considering it was the end of the day and everyone was leaving, I wasn’t quite sure how the answer to that question wasn’t obvious. “I’m leaving for the night.”
“Uh-huh,” he murmured, his gaze dropping to my pelvic area. My lips curled in distaste. “A couple of us are getting drinks. Want to join us?”