“I’m pregnant,” I say before she can ask.
She clucks a bit.
“Yeah, I figured when you said you needed to think. So what next?”
I take a deep breath.
“I don’t know how I’m going to do this all by myself. I don’t know how I’m going to afford a bigger apartment, not to mention daycare, but I’ll figure it out.”
But my best friend clucks her tongue again.
“There’s nothing to figure out, girl, at least not when it comes to money. Your baby daddy is a billionaire. I’m sure you’ll get plenty of child support and won’t have to worry about providing for the baby at all. You’re set.”
But herein lies the rub, and I take another deep breath.
“Mel, I don’t know that I want to tell Keith. What if he thinks I got pregnant on purpose just for the money? What if he wants custody of the baby? You know that I don’t have the resources to fight him in court. Or even worse, what if he doesn’t want to see the baby and I have to tell my kid that her dad didn’t want her?”
My friend is silent for a moment.
“I know what you’re saying, and I’m with you. I’m on the Keith Commons hate train right now but I still think you need to tell him. You need to give him a chance to do the right thing, and to be a good dad. Even if he’s an ass-wipe as a boyfriend, it doesn’t preclude him from being a decent father.”
But I can’t be convinced so easily.
“I’ll think about it. I just don’t want to give Keith the opportunity to hurt someone, much less our child. This baby is too important, and I want him or her to be happy, without lingering psychological issues. I mean, Keith really messed me up, and I can’t let him do the same to our child!”
Mel speaks then.
“You’re not messed up, Kels. You had your heart broken, but that doesn’t mean that you’re messed up. Just take a deep breath and think about it. No need to make a decision now because you’ve got nine months before the baby’s here. But you’re a strong woman, Kels, and it sounds like Keith’s helped you become even stronger. You can do this, and you know I support you no matter what you choose. Get some rest and call me if you need me, okay?”
My eyes tear.
“Yes, of course Mel. And thank you so much. I couldn’t do this without you.”
She blows me a kiss over the screen.
“Bye now, girlfriend.”
I hang up and sit there for a moment in silence. Then, I decide I better get my act together and stop feeling sorry for myself if I’m going to be a mom. It’s a lot of responsibility and I can’t fall apart at any little thing if I have a baby. That starts now.
I straighten up my apartment, make a list of things I need to do and buy, and crawl into bed. There, my composure breaks again and tears leak down my cheeks to wet the pillow. I miss Keith so much right now, but at least soon, I’ll have his baby in my arms.12KeithI can’t believe she won’t take my calls or respond to any of my texts. What the hell? I was so stressed out when I got those messages from my dad that I snapped at Kelsey, and no, she didn’t deserve it. But still, does that merit a complete blackout?
Still, I need to talk to her to explain some things. Given Michelle’s appearance at the airport, I can only imagine the conclusions Kelsey’s drawn.
But now, it’s been two weeks of no contact with Kels, and I’m worried. Unfortunately, it took nearly this amount of time to sort things out with my ex-stepsister, and it took dozens of phone calls and pulling in a few favors too. Finally, I’ve gotten her where she needs to be, which is away from the woman I love.
I scroll through my company’s employee list. Damn, how does this database work? I’ve always had personal assistants find this kind of information for me, so I realize how ironic this is. But if Kelsey won’t take my calls, then I’ll have to go to her apartment in person.
Ah ha. Here it is. I squint. It’s in a bad location in a sketchy neighborhood, but it’s fine. I’m not afraid for myself, I just don’t like the idea that Kelsey’s living somewhere dangerous. I’ll have to find a new place for her to stay once we get this sorted out.
But before I leave for Kelsey’s place, I swing by my dad’s house. Maybe he can help me. The drive out to New Jersey is long, but as I pull up to the clapboard house, the door opens and my dad waits on the porch. Joe is the same as he always is: aging, yes, but still handsome with the sun gleaming off his silvering hair.