I opened my bag to look for something comfortable to change into.


“What is this?”

Alli gasped as she picked up a pink box that I’d shoved into my bag at the last minute. In it were two pregnancy tests that I’d picked up earlier, convincing myself that I was completely insane for doing so.

I resisted the urge to snatch them back from her.

“What does it look like?” I tried to sound nonchalant, but I was already on edge that she’d discovered them.

Her eyes were wide. “Are you pregnant?”

I drew in an uneven breath. “I have no idea.” Was I completely foolish for even suspecting it?

“Are you kidding? You think you might be, but you haven’t taken a test yet?” Her voice had risen at least four octaves.

“I haven’t gotten around to it.” That was mostly true.

“Well, for God’s sake, go take it. I’m freaking out here!”

Glowing with anticipation, she started to open one end of the box. I grabbed it from her, my anxiety ratcheting to new levels. I cursed myself for not hiding the box better.

“I thought we were getting dinner,” I said in a desperate attempt to veer her off topic.

“As if I could eat knowing you might be knocked up. Don’t be crazy.”

“Alli, stop,” I snapped.

She leveled an incredulous stare at me.

My heart thumped wildly in my chest. I wasn’t ready for whatever reality came after the test. I couldn’t . . . “I can’t do this right now.”

“Jesus, why?”

I tossed the box back into the bag and walked toward the window. The sun had set, and Dallas was lit up with a million city lights. How could I do this now? I was in the middle of a tornado. No way could the sun shine through this storm.

“I’m not sure I’m ready to know, either way.”

Alli came closer and stood by my side. “Have you been trying?”

I closed my eyes and thought of Blake.

“Kind of.” My voice was barely a whisper.

“Okay, stupid question. You’re off birth control and you’ve been honeymooning for a month. Of course you have been. When was your last period?”

“I stopped keeping track after the shooting. It’s been erratic ever since. I don’t know. If it’s positive, I’m going to freak out and worry. I’ll worry if it’s even going to be viable. And if it’s negative, I’m not sure I want to know that after all that time together . . . after trying the way we have been, that it still couldn’t happen.”

“Erica, people try for years and can have success. Give yourself a chance. If it’s meant to be, it’ll happen. But not knowing either way can’t be anything but torture. At least for me. I can’t imagine it’s any different for you.”

True, the status of my uterus was a persistent thought in my mind. Imagining that I was pregnant was a happy thought, if a little terrifying. But imagining that I wasn’t and that I’d just dreamed up the possibility was the real torture. Having that play out in real life would be even worse.

“I don’t know if I can handle it right now with everything else that’s happening,” I finally admitted.

Alli went back to the box and brought it to me, holding out one of the tests. “I’m not going to be able to even function until I know. Call it a favor for me going on this crazy mission with you. And whatever it is, we’ll deal with it. I’m here for you, either way. I promise.”

I shook my head slightly, but she stood firm, her jaw set with a determined look I knew well.

“I’m not taking no for an answer. Seriously, go in there and take it.”

After a long moment, I plucked the test from her hand and went into the bathroom. I shut the door, sat down on the lid of the toilet, and stared at the unopened package.

This wasn’t happening. I can’t do this. I don’t even want to know. I cycled through the mantra until Alli spoke up.

“Are you doing it?”

I heard the question clearly enough to know that she was directly outside the door.

“Not yet.”

“Do it,” she ordered.

I opened the package and inspected the test. Seemed straight forward enough.

“Erica!”

I paused, knowing she didn’t really want to hear what I had to say. Not right now. Maybe tomorrow. It can wait. No . . . none of that would be acceptable.

“Damnit it, Erica. I’m your best friend, and I’m demanding you pee on the stick.”

I rolled my eyes. I wondered how low long it would take before she barreled through the door.

“I’m getting to it. Give me a minute for shit’s sake.”

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