I awoke with a start, the sound of someone furiously pounding on my front door jolting me out of a dream I’d been having. A quick glance to the small digital clock resting on my bedside table revealed that it was only seven in the morning. I hadn’t been expecting anybody that day, so I was left entirely confused. The knocks were so loud and strong that they vibrated through the support frames of the apartment. My heart beat wildly in my chest, the suddenly rush of adrenaline through my body instantly helping me to wake up. I slipped my legs out from beneath the warmth and comfort of my blankets and shuffled down the hall to see who in their right mind would bother a pregnant woman this early.
Upon pressing my face against the door to peer through the peephole, I froze. On the other side of the door stood a familiar young man with short blond hair and dark brown eyes. He was dressed in a pair of dark blue jeans and a grey polo shirt, a beige cardigan covering his shoulders from the bitter morning cold. He was tall and slim, and he had an old Hollywood charm about him. Decorating his knuckles were several golden rings, family heirlooms that found their way to him. He was holding a bouquet of flowers in front of him, an awful mix of yellow chrysanthemums and light blue hydrangeas. It didn’t look like he put very much thought into the arrangement. In all likelihood, he probably pointed at the nearest flowers upon walking into the florist’s shop and demanded they be wrapped up as quickly as possible so he could be on his way.
I opened the door an inch, making sure to keep the chain on the door.
“What do you want, Chris?” I grumbled.
Chris put on a charming smile. “Terri, gorgeous as ever.”
I glared at him, knowing full well that my hair was a knotted mess, there was no doubt a drool stain on the corner of my lip, my oversized sleepshirt with an image of Garfield making a complaint about Mondays was wrinkled and faded, and I had a terrible case of morning breath to top everything off. I rolled my eyes and was about to close the door on him, but Chris shoved his foot in the small opening to prevent me from doing so.
“Wait,” he insisted, “I just want to talk to you, Terri.”
“There’s nothing to talk about.”
“Terri, don’t be like this. I’m trying to apologize.”
“Apology accepted. Now get lost.”
Chris didn’t budge. He chuckled softly. “Oh, I missed this.”
“I didn’t. Move, or I’ll call the cops.”
“Just hear me out, okay? That’s all I want.” He shoved the flowers through the crack in the door, smushing them a little in the process. I ceased applying pressure, not out of concern for Chris’ foot, but because I didn’t want the bouquet to suffer for his idiocy. He shook the flowers, silently asking me to take them. With a reluctant huff, I did so.
“You have one minute,” I offered. “Start talking.”
“I’m sorry,” he said. “When you told me you were expecting, I didn’t handle it well.”
I scoffed, “That’s an understatement.”
“It was freaky, Terri. Can you blame me? One minute we’re a happy, normal couple, and then the next thing I know, we’re having a baby together.”
“You ran out on me,” I complained.
“And that was a mistake,” he said, sounding more earnest than I’d ever heard him. “I’ve had a lot of time to think. I miss you so damn much. I haven’t stopped thinking about you since I walked away. I know now that I shouldn’t have. I should have manned up and done the right thing and stuck with you. This is our baby, after all.”
“What are you saying? What do you want?”
“I want to get back together. I want to help you raise our baby.”
I remained silent for a moment, letting his words sink in and settle. Was I still dreaming? Was this really happening? After the awful dinner I’d had with my family, this all felt too good to be true. I didn’t want to admit it aloud, but my mother and father had a good point. Their words had cut far deeper than I expected them to, and doubt had settled into the wounds with a vengeance. Maybe Chris was being sincere in his apology. The look in his eyes told me that he was, that he was genuinely trying to make things right. The idea that I had Chris to lean on for support going forward was incredibly appealing. Yes, he’d broken my heart and left me to fend for myself, but did any of that really matter when he was practically begging me on my doorstep to get back together?
“Will you let me in, Terri?” he whispered softly. “Come on. It’s cold out here.”