So, this is a bit different than the other one shots that I have written, but still a happy ending. I'd love any feedback that anyone offers. I love hearing what people have to say about my writing! Enjoy.
"Carson, I feel really weird." I looked over to my boyfriend of almost seven years. We had been together since we were fifteen, even though if everyone else had their way, we would not even know one another.
"Weird, how? Like are you nauseous? Or are you in physical pain? The doctor said you had to be very specific when you thought something was wrong, Lane." He was beginning to panic a bit, as he had done since the day I found out I was pregnant. As a pre-med student, you would think he wouldn't be so antsy.
"A little bit of both really. But I think I feel nauseous because of the pain. I feel like the inside of my pelvis is being ripped out." Perhaps I shouldn't have been quite that descriptive. Carson greened and told me to get in the car through clenched teeth.
"I'm going to take you to the hospital and we are going to get in right away using my name. And you are not going to put up a fight, Lane. Understood?"
"What if your dad comes across the name? You think he'll immediately break down the door to massacre us or wait until we make it to the parking lot, and do us in as a sneak attack?" Carson laughed bitterly.
"I really could give a flying fuck what my father thinks about us. Granted, it will probably blindside him that my not-so-secret girlfriend has been surreptitiously pregnant for three months and I had yet to say anything to him or my mother. But they were going to find out eventually, so I guess it's really just a matter of biting the bullet at this point."
"But I don't want to cause even more trouble, Carson. Can't we just use my name and wait our turn? Then your father would not even know that you were ever there. And my doctor has no obligation to tell him the details of my visit. I don't want you to feel obligated to own up to every secret in your life today in the middle of a hospital." Carson's father was unbearable when he was in a rather pleasant mood. I couldn't imagine the fury that would result in today's events being exposed.
"No, if we do that it will take us twice as long to see someone. This way I can get you seen immediately and we can fix whatever is wrong," he retorted, saying it quickly and in all one breath.
"Baby, I'm sure it's nothing. Lots of weird things happen during pregnancy and everything turns out fine." I said this as another sharp pain seared through me, and I groaned. Carson's eyes became wide as saucers as he pushed on the gas pedal a bit more.
"You shouldn't be in this much pain," he whispered.
"Do you know what's wrong with me?" I asked.
"Not for sure. I have a few ideas. But let's just wait until we get to the hospital." My pre-med boyfriend was never cryptic with me. When I broke my arm two years ago, he told me right off of the bat that it was broken and I would need surgery to reset the bones. Something must be seriously wrong.
"Carson, baby, calm down. I am fine. I'm starting to feel a little better, actually. We will figure this all out. Now, when we get there, we should just go straight to the maternity wing and see someone there. You're father never goes over there and he'll never have to know I was here. And I don't think you should come in with me."
"Why in God's name are you so worried about Terrence Scott right now? He hasn't had a hold on us for awhile now."
"Then why don't we just invite him and Delia over for tea next week? We'll tell them that we've been together since we were fifteen, and not just casually. We'll explain that you can't even fathom marrying me because you've been too afraid to ask them for your grandmother's ring. Oh, and don't forget the happy news! I'm pregnant, and it's yours! Yay!" I said, laced with sarcasm as I did a mock happy dance in my seat; Carson stared out the windshield, probably trying to ignore me.
"I'm not saying that I have ever been excited to tell them about us, either, but you need to realize that they do still have a hold on you. I don't want to make this harder on you than it really needs to be. If you want to just drop me at the hospital entrance, I'll call you when I'm done. Then there will be no chance of him seeing you. We are just not ready to deal with them yet." I waited for his angry reply, but it never came.
"Do you honestly think that I'm ashamed of you?" His voice was very meek as he spoke.
"No." Not in so many words, anyway.
"Yes you do. Otherwise, you would not have gone on that tirade. You get sarcastic when you're offended," he whispered.
I swallowed and looked out my window. I didn't mean to come off as so insecure, I just wanted him to know that I understand if he's not ready to own up to everything in his life right now. Christ, I wasn't ready. I just really had no choice, seeing as I was the one with the baby bump.
We were finally at the hospital. I leaned across the console and kissed his cheek. "I'll call you when I know anything and I'm ready to go, okay? I love you." I let my words hang in the air.
He nodded his head after a few moments and murmured, "I love you, too."
I walked into the hospital with confidence and a strong gait, in case Carson was watching from the car. I didn't want him following me into the fray.
I walked over to the circulation desk. There was a plump receptionist already glaring at me as she handed me a clipboard. "Fill these out and return them to me. I'll then call your name when we are ready to see you."
I nodded curtly and took a seat in the corner, away from anyone else. I filled out the paperwork diligently, as to have as few questions asked about me as possible. When I got to the section that asked for an emergency number, I hesitated. Should I put Carson down? Would his father look at this? I decided to put him down anyway. Terrence wouldn't be surprised really, and Carson truly was the only person I would call if something was seriously wrong. Granted, Terrence would have no way of knowing that it was his son to knock me up, but the man was not dense. I turned in the paperwork swiftly and resumed my place in the corner.
I watched as several people walked back into the recesses of the hospital, and patiently waited my turn. The emergency room seemed to be terribly understaffed today, and I truly felt sorry for the workers. Most of the walk-ins simply had bad chest colds and appalling attitudes.
A bright, young resident called out my name. I smiled to her and followed her into the small room.
"So, Ms. Rettick, what can I do for you?"
"Well, I'm about eleven weeks pregnant…"
"Oh, congratulations!" she interrupted. Not exactly the sentiment I was going for. I half-smiled and continued.
"Thanks, but I've been having these terrible cramps all day and I've been feeling a little nauseous."
"Okay, well most of that is not entirely uncommon for a pregnancy at your stage, but I'm going to run some tests to be certain that there is nothing to be concerned about. We'll also do an ultrasound to check on the baby visually, okay?"
"Sure." She stood to leave at my response, but it was then that I began to feel incredibly dizzy.
"Ma'am, I'm feeling very faint," I managed to slur out. I felt as though my body was jello and I was incapable of moving. The sharp pains became much more pronounced.
She yelled for help as my vision became very splotchy.
"I'm calling the attending on duty to take over. Dr. Scott is a brilliant doctor, Ms. Rettick. I think you're having a serious complication with your pregnancy and we may have to send you into surgery."
I shook my head vehemently to indicate that I didn't want him in the room with me.
"You're going to be okay, Ms. Rettick." Her rushed tone told me that I was not going to be okay. And then I saw the blood on her glove. I was bleeding?
I didn't want to die today. I couldn't die today. And who would tell Carson? No one knew the extent of our relationship. As I was contemplating this, I saw Terrence walk into the room and look at me. He held back his grimace and began talking to the female doctor. I saw him glance at me with disgust just as I sank deeper into the dark abyss.
I knew something was horribly wrong. So wrong. I looked down to see I was lying in a pool of my own blood.
Carson was retching against the floor; the noises became worse when he finally noticed I was still slightly bleeding.
"Well, look what you've done now, Alayna. There's no hope for you now." I glared up at the man standing over me, wishing that I could say differently. But I couldn't.
"Would you help her? Please, dad. I don't want to watch my girlfriend bleed out." Carson was speaking just over a whisper, and his words surprisingly did not affect me as much as they probably should.
"She's not going to bleed out. I stopped most of the bleeding. But that baby is gone. No saving that thing now. Luckily, I was able to stop the bleeding and repair the damage quickly, and you will be able to reproduce in the future, Alayna. I hope you two have learned your lesson. Maybe you'll listen to your mother and I, Carson, when we tell you that Alayna is no good for you; no good for this family." He continued to glare at me, as if I purposely got myself pregnant just to remain close to his only son.
"And look at you now, Carson," he continued. "Some doctor you will become. You are reduced to tears and vomiting in a situation where you will need to be in control. Pathetic, truly pathetic."
"When did you get here?" I whispered to Carson. He looked up to me as if he were shocked I could speak.
"They called me as your emergency contact. I walked in to find you unconscious and bleeding, and my father operating." His voice was scratchy, from the vomit I gathered.
Terrence left with promises to return soon. I told him we'd miss him with a bitter laugh.
We sat in silence for a long while as Carson worked to compose himself once again. He eventually turned to me and gazed into my eyes with an unreadable expression on his face.
"What just happened?" he finally spoke in a timid voice.
"Um, well, we've just blown the gasket off of the case of the secret pregnancy. Other than that, I'm not sure what happened."
"No, I knew that was coming. I was waiting for it really. I mean, what just happened to you? You were having some cramps, and then you almost die. I walk in here after an emergency call from the circulation desk to find you bleeding out and unconscious with my father glaring daggers at you. All I remember is feeling suddenly sick and you know the rest, I suppose," he trailed off, remembering his vomiting on the floor.
I stared at him for a long moment, unsure of how to say what I needed to say. The guilt was blinding. He was so worried and I was troubling him for no reason. I saw the little crease in his forehead from stress and it was killing me to think I was the cause of all of it.
"I'm sorry," I whispered to him. He looked at me with a face full of fury. Then I felt honestly scared. I had been collected during the whole ordeal. Even when I was dying, I was only worrying about who would take care of him. What if he was so angry that he didn't want to do this anymore? I wouldn't blame him.
"Why are you sorry?" he asked, breaking my inner monologue.
"Because I passed out and your dad had to swoop in and save my life. And you coming in and heaving all over the floor did nothing to convince him the baby is not yours. But yeah, if I had just held on for a few extra minutes, the other doctor would have been fine by herself and your dad would have never had to acknowledge my existence."
"And it's your fault that you passed out from bleeding out because…?"
"Well not even just passing out. I'm sorry for being here. I'm sorry for being pregnant. I'm sorry that I complicate your life to the point where you feel like you have to lie to your parents constantly. I'm just sorry. For all of it. I understand if you can't do this anymore. I wouldn't blame you for giving up on this relationship. We have been defending it for so long and you must be exhausted of it. So I'm giving you the easy out, Carson. I get it. Do what you think is best."
Carson turned to the other side of the room. He was leaving me. I began chanting to myself not to cry, and hoped I could hold out until he left the room. He would be better off without me, anyway. But just when I thought he was going to walk out of the room, and my life, he grabbed the chair right next to the door and pulled it to my bed.
He sat and held his head in his hands for an eternity. When he finally looked up at me, he was visibly on the verge of tears.
"Really, Carson, it's okay. Don't feel guilty. I'll be all right." I wanted to placate him as much as possible, even though I was unsure of the validity of my words.
"I'm not upset because I think I should leave you, Lane. Not even close. I'm upset because I have failed you beyond all comprehension, and that is something I cannot seem to get past."
"What do you mean you've failed me? Every sore spot in your life is because of the sacrifices you make to be with me. And I've always appreciated what you've done for me and I'm not saying that I necessarily regret you making those tough calls with me in mind. But I feel like now that we aren't kids anymore and those decisions are life altering, we just need to face the music. I'm sick of feeling like I'm holding you back. I don't want you to look back ten years from now and wonder what all you could have done without me in the mix. So really, you have done more than enough Carson, and you're certainly not a failure."
"But that's the thing, Lane, I am. I've failed you because you actually believe all of this garbage. Never have a once felt like I was sacrificing my livelihood or myself for you. You are my livelihood. Anything I accomplish or do would mean nothing if I didn't get to come home to you at the end of the day and share it with you. And I want to be that person for you too, Lane. When you are a famous reporter, I want you to come home and tell me all about your writing and the people you meet. I want to have a gaggle of kids and a home with you, Lane. The truth of the matter is that although this child was unexpected, I'm heartbroken that this chance was taken away from us, and I can't wait until we get to formally start our family.
"And the fact that you think that I've stayed with you out of obligation, out of sheer boredom, rather than the fact that I couldn't imagine living without you, demonstrates just how much I have failed you. Because I obviously have not expressed desperately I love you and cannot live without you. To hell with my parents, and to hell with yours, because in the end, it has always just been you and me, baby. And I wouldn't have it any other way."
I felt the tears rolling down my cheeks as I tried to blink past them. I was so sick of having to fight for him, as I had for seven years, and to hear him say that did not have to, because he was there, filled me with enough joy to rival an ocean.
"Okay," I finally choked out when I found my voice. "But you have to know something."
"Shoot," he replied, with a determined look on his face.
"I'm sad about losing the baby, too. I know I acted as if I was unhappy with being pregnant, but secretly, I always wanted it. Even if you were gone, I knew I would always have a piece of you and me, and I cannot imagine anything better than that feeling. It made me feel like while everyone else was telling us to stay apart, fate was intervening, and telling us this was what we were supposed to be. When your dad said that the baby was gone, I died at the thought that I would never be able to carry your child."
Carson grimaced at me. "I'm so sorry, Lane. I know this must be hard for you. Once we got over the initial shock of everything, we were so happy. I think the happiest we have ever been, which really says something, because I cannot think of a time when I was ever truly unhappy with you. It felt like for once in our lives we were doing something for us, by us. No parents, no one telling us we are stupid; just living for what we wanted. And I want you. And I can guarantee that this will not be the last time you will carry my child. I'm permanent, Lane. I'm not going anywhere."
The realization that this was something Carson and I could get past, and that it was only a hiccup in our lives now, made me feel so at peace with the situation. We would get through this, and come out on the other side all right.
"Then I only have one other thing to add," I replied. He nodded for me to continue.
"I want a dog. And not a little frou-frou one that people accidently trip over constantly. Like a golden retriever. Trite, yes, but I always liked the connotation."
He laughed, and I was beyond relieved. "Anything. I love you."
"I love you, too," I whispered, as he leaned in and kissed me. He placed his forehead on mine looked at me for a few minutes with a silly look on his face.
"What?" I asked of his expression.
"Will you marry me?" he asked me, the grin never leaving his face.
"What?!" I practically shouted.
"Will you marry me?" he said louder, and with more confidence.
"Um, have you even thought about this?"
"Of course. I wasn't planning to ask today, but I think that after all we've seen today, marriage seems like the easiest decision in the world."
"What about your parents? Your father finally saw a ray of hope that you were finally coming to your senses," I chuckled.
"I am coming to my senses. We've danced around this subject for far too long. Like you said before, we're no longer kids. You'll be graduating this year, and I'll be done with undergrad. We could get married in the summer, and get an apartment ready for the fall. You'll write, I'll go to school, and we'll finally be like normal couples. Well, as normal as we'll ever be," he laughed.
I smiled at him. "Okay."
"Did you expect me to say no?"
"Well, yeah," he laughed.
"Do you not really want to get married?" I asked, suddenly scared. He, of course, continued to laugh harder.
"Of course I still want to get married. I just didn't expect you to be so easily swayed."
"Oh, gee, thanks for the vote of confidence." He laughed again.
"Knock, knock," came Terrence's vile tone from the door. "How are things going in here?"
"Well, dad, I've asked Alayna to marry me, and she's accepted. I'll need grandmother's ring of course, but all in due time. What do you say we celebrate when your shift ends? Perhaps a nice scotch, or champagne?" My boyfriend was terrible, yet brilliant.
And then it was poor Terrence's turn to hit the floor cold.
"Should we do something?" I asked.
"Nah, he'll be okay once the shock wears off."
"If you insist."
"And I do. But I think you should rest now."
"Will you lay with me?" He smiled his million-dollar grin, and climbed onto the tiny cot with me.
"There's no place I'd rather be." And we fell into a fitful sleep.