I patted my blazer, making out the shape and form of the ring box I had tucked away. This wasn’t the best place to do this, but I wanted to show Tia just how serious I was about her. This wasn’t a game anymore. This wasn’t a challenge. She was the love of my life and I was about to lose her if I didn’t do something to get her back. I started to open my mouth to speak, but Tia beat me to it.
“I’m moving out,” she said flatly. Her words were like icy daggers to my chest.
“I’m moving out,” she repeated. “I’ll be back later to get my things.”
No. This was all wrong. How did everything fall apart so quickly? Why was this happening to me? I’d finally found a woman who made me feel complete, and now she was tearing herself away from me. I felt like shit. I wanted so badly to hold her in my arms.
“Where are you going?” I said hurriedly.
“Back to Jenna’s.”
“Jenna? Crazy Jenna? Are you serious right now?” Rage filled me to the brim. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “You think living with her is better than coming back home with me?”
“Tia, do you hear yourself? This is all just a big misunderstanding. I miss you, Tia. Please just come home. I’m–” I choked on my sentence. I needed to tell her the truth. I needed to tell her, damned the consequences. “I love you, Tia. Please, come home with me. We can work this out.”
Tia casted her eyes to the floor, ashamed. She didn’t say anything, the silence a terrifying shriek in my ears. She turned away fully and started down the hall. She ignored the onlookers and the gossips.
I hadn’t spoken to Alex in a week. I continued to ignore his calls, his texts, barely acknowledged him when we were at work. To his credit, he actually started to show up to do his job –albeit, not because he actually wanted to do it. He just needed to find an excuse to talk to me, to apologize to me. But I’d find a way to slip out of his sight, to immerse myself in a conversation so he couldn’t bother me. After the fourth day, he stopped trying entirely.
And it hurt.
It hurt when he stopped. A part of me wanted him to keep trying, to find a better time to talk to me. Ideally in a place that didn’t drastically affect my professional work life. But seeing as our relationship had already made it to the status of watercooler gossip, I really shouldn’t have cared. Today was my first day off since starting with the law firm. And it was a good thing, too, because I felt like absolute and utter shit.
I had my head resting on the cold toilet seat, violently vomiting up my breakfast. I gripped the toilet bowl, hoping that it would somehow keep me grounded and steady.
“Jesus,” hissed Jenna. She had been freaking out all morning, rummaging through her cupboards for some Pepto-Bismol and paper towels to clean up my mess. “Jesus, what’s wrong with you?” Her words came out harsher than she probably meant. She was worried, I could tell.
“Probably just ate something bad.”
“Like what?” she questioned, trying to play detective.
“I did have some of that leftover chicken parm.”
“I had some, too, but I feel fine,” she hummed as she thought.
I took a deep breath before lurching again. My stomach did a terrible flip as it contracted harshly, forcing the contents in my tummy back up my throat to meet their pitiful demise in the toilet. I reached up and pulled the lever, watching the mess swirl down the pipes. Jenna passed me a glass of water, which I gratefully drank. I tried to rinse the taste of bile and leftovers out of my mouth.
“Hey,” she started gently. “Do you think you’re… Do you think you’re pregnant?”
“What?” I gasped, wiping at my sweaty brow with the back of my forearm.
“I mean, you did say you slept with that guy, right?”
“Yeah, but–” We used protection.
Jenna shrugged. “I’m just saying. The food was fine, so that’s really the only other thing I can think of. And you don’t exactly look like you have a cold or anything.”
I swallowed uncomfortably. “Maybe,” I mumbled.
Jenna sighed, turning to give me some privacy. “I think there’s a pregnancy test in the medicine cabinet somewhere. If you want to check, that is.”
“Thanks,” I managed.
I sat with my back leaning against the cold porcelain of the tub, allowing the coolness to seep into my skin. The temperature change forced a shiver down my spine. It was a temporary relief, if anything. I slowly got up on my feet and made my way to the bathroom door, making sure to press against the wood to ensure it was probably closed. I locked the door before turning to the medicine cabinet, fishing through boxes of soap, prescription bottles, and makeup until I finally found what I was looking for. It didn’t even cross my mind as to why Jenna happened to have something like this at the ready.