Since my stomach felt like it was just bubbling with bile, I couldn’t eat much for lunch, which made me hangry—hungry and angry at the same time. But that wasn’t the main source of discontent during lunch. I’d hidden in my car and started calling OB/GYNs, and dear God in heaven, was everyone in the county pregnant and in need of a baby doctor? I had to make six different calls to find a doctor who could see me by the second week of November.
The second week of November!
Holy crap, by my calculations, I’d be around eight weeks pregnant by then. Eight weeks! That was two months and some spare change. What in the hell was I supposed to do between now and then?
There were a lot of things I could screw up in two and half months.
But I made the appointment, and then, even though the dinner with Nick last night had gone downhill as quickly as a zombie apocalypse would, I texted him the date and time I’d scheduled my first appointment.
Not a damn thing.
Oh, he wanted to be involved and we needed to be in this together because we were stuck together, but that text message was three hours ago, and he still hadn’t responded? We were getting off to a great start.
Granted, for all I knew, something could be going on, but my shitty day was just shitacular and logic wouldn’t do anything but make me angrier.
And now I had Rick staring at me like the dickhead he was.
I stalked toward the door, planning to punch him in the balls if he didn’t move out of the way or brushed against me again, but as I neared him, he stepped to the side. Rick said nothing as I all but stomped past him, out the door, holding my breath so I didn’t choke on the cologne. He just stood there, like a creep, staring at me.
I’d neared my desk when Marcus’s door flew open, rattling the edges. My eyes widened as I jerked to a stop. Andrew Lima raced out of the office, hauling butt to the main doors. Marcus was right behind him. Andrew’s daughter—the quiet Jillian, darted out next.
“What happened?” I asked, my hand fluttering to my stomach for some unknown reason.
As I jerked my hand away, the gesture went unnoticed. Jillian’s face was leeched of all blood as she hurried past me. “It’s Brock,” she said, her dark eyes shiny with tears. “He’s been hurt.”
Hardly anyone spoke of anything else the rest of the day at work. Everyone was blown away by what had happened in one of the training rings down below. From what I could gather from the guys milling in and out of the office, Brock had been training one of the newer fighters, a young guy who had a world of potential in the mixed martial-arts arena.
No one quite knew exactly how the injury happened, but it sounded like Brock was showing the younger man grappling moves. Something had gone wrong, and Brock was flat on his back, clutching at his chest. He’d said that he felt a pop in his chest, and while I didn’t know much about MMA-related injuries, that didn’t sound good.
And it hadn’t been.
By the time we were starting to close down the office, Marcus returned and the news was grim. Brock had suffered a pectoralis major tendon rupture—a tear in the interior muscle that surrounded the chest wall. The tear was so severe that the muscle had been separated from the bone and he was rushed into surgery to repair it. In a handful of seconds Brock “the Beast” Mitchell had suffered what some feared would be a career ending injury.
Horrified, I hadn’t known what to say. I didn’t know Brock that well, but it was depressing to hear that his entire future could’ve shifted irrevocably. The malaise lingered well past the time I’d gone home and changed into a pair of warm and comfy sweats. Roxy stopped by for a little bit, and I told her about Brock. She was as saddened as everyone else.
When she left to head up to Reece’s, I chatted with Yasmine on Skype for a couple of minutes about nothing in particular before she leaned toward her computer screen, her brown eyes filled with concern.
“How are you really doing, Steph?” she asked, her voice sounding distant over the Skype connection.
I clutched the throw pillow close to my chest as I eyed her back. “I’m doing good. Like I’ve said.”
Her head tilted to one side. “You look really tired, though.”
Geez. My lips pursed. “Do I look like a hot mess or something?”
“Kind of,” she replied.
A wide smile broke out, raising her dark cheeks. “I don’t mean anything by it. You just look tired.”
I’m pregnant formed on the tip of my tongue, but I couldn’t get those two words out. I had no idea what Yasmine would think. I doubted it would be the typical squeals of excitement that had gone down when Roxy heard Avery was pregnant. It would probably be a lot of “holy craps” and the like. A weird heaviness settled on my chest. I quickly changed the subject, asking about Atlanta.
Once I was off the call with her, I grabbed a snack and then plopped down on the couch, munching on Cheez-Its as I fell down the rabbit hole known as Buzzfeed.
A few minutes after nine, my phone dinged. My hand froze halfway to my mouth and an orange square fell, plopping off my chest as my gaze swung to where my phone rested on the arm of the couch.
It was from Nick.
Ok. I can be there.
That was it? Nearly nine hours later and that was his response? My hand tightened around the phone. I wanted to text him back and demand why it had taken him so long to respond, but that wasn’t me. Or at least that had never been me before, but now was it?
I picked the Cheez-It up off my boob and popped it in my mouth, chewing the poor thing like I was a wolverine with a bone. All I wanted to do was plant my face in a pillow and scream.
Scream so many F-words that ears all around the condo blistered.
And that was a wee bit dramatic.
What was wrong with me? Hormones? Didn’t women get kind of emotional when they were pregnant? That sounded like as good an excuse as any, but did it happen this quickly?
Tuesday and Wednesday were overcast and dreary, matching my mood and those at Lima Academy. Brock had made it out of surgery and he’d have to be in an arm sling for at least six weeks. It was too soon to tell if he’d heal completely and could return, or the outcome would be what everyone feared.
I hadn’t seen Andrew or his daughter since Monday, but I imagined both were distraught, for very different reasons. Brock was essential to Lima’s success, but I couldn’t forget the way Jillian had looked at him. Even though she was leaving, she clearly was very much in love with Brock.
Nick had texted me back on Tuesday, sometime during the afternoon, and I hadn’t responded, because . . . well, I didn’t have a good reason. A huge part of me knew I was being childish and that, honestly, this was the time for me to act mature, but I couldn’t rattle up enough energy to care.
When I got home Wednesday, I immediately pulled on flannel pajama bottoms and a loose sweater and then chatted with my mom. She was happy that I had told Nick, and while she tried to keep her cool on the phone, I could tell she was thrilled that in about eight months she was going to be a grandmother.
It was close to seven-thirty when I got off the phone with her, and I was currently eyeing the wealth of snack food in my pantry. I’d made a much needed trip to the grocery story after work on Monday, stocking up on foods that I discovered via a very confusing and somewhat overwhelming Web site for moms-to-be.