“I already went to the hospital.”
Nick’s lips slowly parted as he stared at me, his eyes widening.
“There’s nothing else that can be done at this point. I mean, not right now. I’ll make a follow-up appointment to make sure everything is okay, but nothing needs to be done right now.” That was the truth, and I didn’t need to tell him all the . . . other details of what was happening. “You don’t need to take off work or anything. I’m just going to be . . . uh, relaxing . . .” I swallowed thickly. “ . . . until Monday.”
He let go of my hands. “When . . . when did this happen?”
“Last night.” Hadn’t I said that? I couldn’t remember.
Nick placed his hands on his thighs. “And you went to the hospital last night?”
I nodded as I smoothed my hands over my legs.
“Why didn’t you call me?”
His face blurred a little as I shook my head. “I don’t know.”
There was a pause. “Come again?”
Why hadn’t I called him? He should’ve been the first person I called. Granted, I’d panicked when I went to the hospital, but I should’ve called him once I was there or when the nurse had asked. I still didn’t even know why I hadn’t. I pressed my fingers to my temples and shook my head. “I didn’t want to bother you.”
“Bother me? Are you . . . ?” He rose suddenly, taking a step back. His hand went through his hair again. “Okay. Why would you even think that?”
I shook my head.
Nick stepped to the side, his hands settling on his waist. “Is this a real conversation we’re having?”
I squeezed my eyes shut. “I didn’t . . .”
“You didn’t what?”
I hadn’t wanted to disappoint him, because he’d lost so much. I hadn’t wanted to hurt him, because he’d already been hurt enough. And I didn’t know how to handle any of this—the baby, being in a relationship, losing the baby and Nick. I didn’t know how to do this, and I had done it wrong, so wrong.
And as I lifted my gaze to him, I knew they weren’t the only reasons. I’d fallen for Nick, fallen so deep, and this baby was what had brought us together—was what stuck us together, and now that wasn’t there. He’d never said he’d loved me. No plans for the future were made that hadn’t included the baby. What were we without what brought us together?
I knew I was going to lose him.
A cramp hit, catching me off guard. My hand flew to my stomach as the pain lanced through me.
Nick was immediately kneeling in front of me. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” I gritted out.
“What can I do?” He touched my arm.
“Nothing. Just . . .” The pain let up, and pulled away as I stood. “I just need to relax for a little bit.”
His hands opened at his sides. “Is there anything I can get for you?”
I shook my head. “No. I just wanted to let you know. That’s all.”
“That’s all?” He jerked back as if he’d been pushed, and I wanted to look away. I wanted to hide, because this . . . all of this felt like my fault. “Stephanie, I don’t know what to say.”
Tell me that you still want to be here.
Tell me that you still see a future for us.
Tell me that you love me.
“There’s nothing to say,” I whispered, looking away.
“You’re wrong,” he said, and hope sparked deep in my chest. “We lost a baby—”
“I wasn’t even thirteen weeks,” I said, because it was easier not to think about it outside of that. “The doctor said it might’ve stopped developing weeks ago.”
“Weeks ago?” he murmured, wincing.
“All I’m trying to say is that at least it happened now and not weeks from now, not when . . .” Not when I was showing or when it would be so much harder to accept and understand this.
Except it was hard to accept and understand. I didn’t get it. I didn’t know why this happened, and I wasn’t just disappointed, I was crushed, and I—
“I should’ve been there, Stephanie. Not just so that I could be there for you, but also so that I could be there. And nothing to say? There’s a lot to say about all of this. I don’t know the words right now. I don’t even know what to think, but . . . Fuck.” He smoothed his hand over his face. His arm shook. “Why didn’t you call me, Stephanie?”
I blinked. “I . . .”
“You know what? This isn’t the time for this conversation.”
My stomach twisted. “Why not?”
He shot me a disbelieving look. “You don’t need to deal with anything else.”
Here it comes, I thought. “I’m okay,” I told him, straightening my shoulders. “What conversation do you want to have?”
His eyes flared. “You cannot be okay. You just lost the baby, Stephanie. I mean, come the fuck on. You’re human. You’re not—”
“I’m okay.” My heart was pounding. “What do you want to talk about?”
Shaking his head, he started to walk toward the table—to his helmet. He was leaving, and panic took root in the pit of my stomach. I stepped in front of him. “Why won’t you tell me what you want to say?”
“Why?” The hollows of his cheeks flushed. “Because I’m trying to be a decent human being right now, Stephanie. I’m not trying to dump more shit on your head when you don’t need it right now. I’m—”
“What?” I snapped, frustration and confusion swirling in me until it turned into bitter-edged anger. “You’re what?”
“I’m pissed! I’m fucking disappointed,” he shot back, and I flinched. “How could you deal with that by yourself?” He stepped toward me, his hands closing at his sides. “How could you not think that I would’ve—I would’ve fucking dropped everything to be there. I mean, did you even think of me when this was happening? Did it even cross your damn mind that I would want to be there for you? For myself?”
My mouth opened but there were no words. “I . . . didn’t think when I started having the pains. I drove myself to the hospital and I—”
“I get that. Okay? I can understand that part, but you wait until today to ask me to come over via fucking text message, are you kidding— Okay.” He drew himself up straight, drawing in a deep breath as his entire body tensed. “I’m doing this right now. You don’t need this,” he said, stepping around me. “I don’t need to do this right now. Okay? I need to clear my head. You need to clear your head.”
I folded my arms across my waist. “I’m sorry.”
Nick spun on me. “Stop apologizing, Stephanie. What happened isn’t your fault.” He reached out, but my body had a mind of its own. It recoiled from his words, because how could this not be my fault? His hands touched air, and the skin around his lips whitened. “What the—”
“Please just leave,” I whispered. “Please. Just go.”