It seemed like they’d made me wait forever. I was certain that this was all a mistake and thus, a huge waste of time.
The doctor peeked her head into the waiting area. “Ms. Payne? Good news. They’ll take you right now. Just take the elevator back down to the first floor and look for Reid Obstetrics. Ask for Doris. She’s the ultrasound technician. Our office already passed along all of your insurance information.”
When I got to the office downstairs, a girl about my age, wearing scrubs with Mickey Mouse heads all over the shirt was waiting for me smiling. “Amelia?”
“Hi. Come right this way.”
Doris took me into a dark room. It was much warmer than the cold examination office upstairs, and there was soft music playing on the radio.
“First off, Congratulations.” She had a slight Spanish accent.
“Oh, I’m not pregnant. I have a virus. This is just to confirm that they made a mistake with the urine test.”
She looked amused. “Those tests are very accurate.”
“They usually are, but not in this case,” I said matter-of-factly.
Ignoring my comment, she pointed to my shirt. “Can you lift this for me? I’m just gonna put some warm gel on your belly.”
The tube made a weird squirting sound when she squeezed the clear gel onto my stomach. She touched the nozzle to my abdomen and pressed down a bit. A fuzzy white image appeared on the screen, and within seconds, I saw it. Not just a blob, but a huge head and arms. It was moving and looked gigantic.
“Amelia, I present to you…your virus. As you can see, it has a heart that’s beating right here, and it looks like all the parts are where they should be. You are most definitely carrying a child.”
It felt like the room was spinning.
“How can this be?”
“I’m sure you can figure it out if you think hard enough. You look to be about twelve weeks along, which would put your due date somewhere at the end of March.”
Three months ago. Almost exactly the last time I was with Adam. Adam who cheated on me. Adam who was living in Boston with Ashlyn. Adam who I hated. That Adam.
I was carrying Adam’s baby.
The technician went on, “Unfortunately, it’s a little too early to tell the sex, but we can make you another appointment if you want for your eighteen-week visit, and we should be able to determine the gender then. You’ll see the doctor next time first, though.”
“I’ll probably see a doctor out in Providence where I live most of the year, but thank you.”
Dazed and confused, I watched in disbelief as she printed out three pictures of my baby and handed them to me. I stared down at the images of the alien creature and then down at my stomach, which barely looked any different to me. I just looked a little bloated and had attributed that to stress and drinking.
Oh my God. Drinking!
I’d been drinking alcohol and coffee fusion. Was the baby even okay?
Feeling numb, I exited the medical building and sat in my car for several minutes before conjuring up enough energy to drive home. The outside looked different. Grayer. Scarier. The future seemed completely uncertain. For the first time in months, something other than Justin was consuming my mind.
Back home, Justin and Jade were cooking dinner in the kitchen while I lay in my bed clutching my stomach in disbelief. I’d managed to sneak back into my room before they returned to the house with their groceries, so I still hadn’t made contact with them. The sound of Jade’s laughing from downstairs was driving me nuts under the circumstances.
I was still in shock. It seemed like I was in the middle of a horrible dream. This pregnancy felt impossible to believe.
How was I possibly going to raise a child? I could barely take care of myself. My salary wasn’t enough to cover the cost of daycare. There were so many things that were up in the air. The sound of the front door slamming interrupted my frantic thought process. Before I could wonder if they’d left, I heard footsteps coming up the stairs and approaching my room.
There was a knock at the door.
“Who is it?”
“It’s me.” The unexpected sound of his low voice made me shiver.
“What do you need?”
“Can I come in?”
I got up and answered the door. “What?”
He looked tired, like he’d been run ragged.
“You look exhausted. Too much sex?” I scoffed.
Ignoring the question, he said, “Jade is making guacamole. We’re out of limes, so she ran back to the store. It’s the first opportunity I’ve had to talk to you alone. We don’t have much time.”
“What do you need to say?”
“Why haven’t you come out of your room?”
“Isn’t that what you wanted…for me to disappear?”
Looking filled with regret, Justin shook his head slowly and whispered, “No.”
“No. The schedule idea was asinine. I’m sorry I ever suggested it.”
“Well, guess what?”
“It’s no longer going to be hard for you to resist me. There won’t be a dilemma. Because when I tell you what I found out today, you’ll never have a single inappropriate thought about me again. You won’t want anything to do with me. Your biggest nightmare…just became my reality, Justin.”
His eyelids were fluttering in an attempt to decipher my words. “What the fuck are you talking about?”
Bursting into tears, I sat back down on my bed and buried my face in my hands. I was suddenly all too aware of my pregnancy hormones. Justin, who had never seen me cry to this extent, sat down next to me and pulled me into his arms. That only prompted me to sob harder.
“Amelia…talk to me. Please.”
“I went to see a doctor. It was just supposed to be a routine check-up. I’d been sick…just like you were…”
“Did someone hurt you over there?”
Wiping my nose with my sleeve, I cried, “No. It’s nothing like that.”
“The doctor ran some tests. One of them was a pregnancy test.” So ashamed, I pulled back to look at his face.
My voice was practically inaudible. “Yes.”
“How can that be?”
“I’m three months along. It’s Adam’s.”
“That asshole didn’t use a condom with you?”
“That’s the thing. We did use one. I don’t know how this happened. Clearly, they’re not foolproof.”
“Is it too late to terminate it?”
“Did you not hear me say I was three months along? Yes, it’s too late! Even so, I could never go through with an abortion.”
Justin got up from the bed and started to pace. “Alright…alright, I’m sorry. I was just thinking out loud, making sure you know what your options are.”
“I’m so scared.”
Jade’s voice called from downstairs, “Justin? I’m back!”
He stopped pacing. “Shit.”
“Please don’t tell Jade,” I begged. “I don’t want anyone to know yet.”
“Okay. Of course.”
“You’d better go.”
He wouldn’t move from his spot. “Amelia…”
“Go! Just go. I don’t want her to see me crying.”