You see it all the time. In celebrity magazines, on TV. One minute, couples are all soul mates, never felt this way before, jump up and down on Oprah’s couch in love. And the next, they’re at each other’s throats—dragging out the lawyers to battle over money, or houses . . . or children. I always wondered how that happens.
Take a good look. This is how.
“Well, pat yourself on the back, Drew. You wanted to hurt me?
You did. Feel better now?”
“Yeah, I’m thrilled. A regular happy camper. Can’t you tell?”
“Can you stop acting like a child for five minutes?”
“Depends. Can you stop acting like a heartless bitch?”
If he was close enough, I’d slap him. “I hate you!”
he smirks coldly. “Consider yourself lucky. I wish I could hate you—I prayed for it. To get you out of my system. But you’re still there, under my skin, like some fatal f**king disease.”
have you ever worked on one of those crossword puzzles in the newspaper? And you’re determined to finish it—you start off so sure that you can? But then it just gets too hard. Too exhausting.
So you give up. You’re just . . . done.
I press a hand to my forehead. And even though I try to put up a strong front, my voice comes out small. “I don’t want to do this anymore, Drew. I don’t want to fight. We can go around and around like this all day, but it’s not gonna change a thing. I won’t have half a relationship with you. It’s non-negotiable.”
“Bullshit! Everything is negotiable. It just depends on how far the parties are willing to bend.” And then he’s begging. “And I will, Kate— I’ll bend. hate me all you f**king want, but . . . don’t . . . leave me.”
And he sounds so despondent. Desperate. I have to stop myself from comforting him. From giving in, from saying yes. A few days ago, I would have. I would have jumped at the chance to eat his crumbs. To keep him in my life—any way I could.
But not today.
Because this isn’t just about me anymore. “I’m a package deal now. You have to want both of us.”
his fists flail in the air, searching for something to hit. “What the f**k are you talking about?” he roars. “It’s like I’m stuck in some screwed-up Tim Burton movie, where nothing makes sense! None of this makes any f**king sense!”
“I’m talking about the baby! I won’t bring a baby into a relationship where he’s not wanted! It’s not fair. It’s not right.”
I didn’t think it was possible for a person to be any paler than Drew was when he first got here, and still be alive. But I was wrong.
Because his face just got whiter. About two shades.
“What baby? What are you . . .” he scrutinizes me, trying to see the answer before he asks, “Are you . . . pregnant?”
Kind of makes you wonder just how hard Delores hit him, huh?
“Of course I’m pregnant!”
he takes a step forward. And his face looks like one of those theater masks, horror and hope side by side. “Is it mine?”
I don’t answer right away because I’m so surprised by the question.
“Who . . . who else’s would it be?”
“Bob’s,” he says matter-of-factly. Like he actually believes I know what he’s talking about.
“Yes, Kate—Bob. The guy who means everything to you.
Obviously you’ve been f**king him, so how the hell do you know the baby’s not his?”
I flip through my mental Rolodex, looking for a Bob, trying to figure out why in God’s name Drew thinks I’d be f**king him.
“The only Bob I know . . . is Roberta.”
That takes the wind right out of his sails. “Who?”
“Roberta Chang. Bobbie—Bob. I went to school with her.
She’s an ob-gyn. You saw me go into her office the night you followed me. That’s how you knew . . .”
his eyes widen, thinking. And then he shakes his head in disbelief.
“No. No—I saw you with a guy. You were meeting him. he picked you up and hugged you. he kissed you. he had food.”
It takes me a moment to process his words, and then I remember. “Oh—that was Daniel. Roberta’s husband. he lived with us in during undergrad too. They just moved to the city a few months ago. I told you about them.”
Drew’s expression is unreadable. Then he takes a hand and rubs it down his face—hard—like he wants to scrape off skin.
“Okay, just . . . go with me here for a second. When you wrote the name Bob in your calendar, you were talking about Roberta, who’s a woman and a baby doctor that you went to school with in Boston?”
“And the guy that I saw you with, in the parking lot, is her husband and also an old friend of yours?”
his voice is tight. Strained. “And you think we’ve been fighting this whole time because . . . ?”
“Because you don’t want me to have the baby.”
have you ever seen a skyscraper demolished? I have. It implodes. From the top down, so as not to damage the buildings beside it. And that’s exactly what Drew does. Right in front of my eyes. he crumbles.
his legs give out and he falls to his knees. “Oh, God . . . Jesus Christ . . . I can’t believe . . . f**k . . . I’m an idiot . . . so f**king stupid . . .”
And I go down with him. “Drew? Are you all right?”
“No . . . no, Kate . . . I’m so far from all right, it’s scary.”
I grab his hands and his eyes meet mine. And just like that—it all makes sense. Finally.
The things he did.
The things he said.
It all falls into place like the last piece of a mosaic.
“You thought I was having an affair?”
he nods. “Yeah.”
The world spins and I’m barely breathing. “how could you think that? how could you ever believe I would cheat on you?”
“There was a guy’s name in your calendar . . . and you lied . . .
.and I saw you hugging that man. how could you think I wouldn’t want a baby? Our baby?”
“You told me to have an abortion.”
his hands tighten around mine. “I would never say that to you.”
“You did. You told me to end it.”
he shakes his head and groans. “End the affair, Kate. Not the baby.”
My chin rises defensively. “But I wasn’t having an affair.”