I can’t believe the day is here. The weather is perfect for a day like today. Gloomy. I tighten the robe around me pulling the collar closer together. I stand here looking outside. I can’t believe that it is here.
I could not sleep a wink last night. I laid there next to him, inhaling his scent, memorizing the way his eyes flutter a bit while he is dreaming. I couldn’t look away from him for so long that the tears just started falling.
Now it has been two hours since I crawled out of bed. I tried to get some sleep, but the pain inside of my heart hurt to much. Knowing that he would be leaving me in just a few short hours was killing me.
“Hey, beautiful,” he whispers into my ear wrapping his arms around my waist.
“Morning,” I whimper leaning back into his arms.
“Were you crying,” he asks kissing my neck after he pulls my long blond hair away.
“Something in my eye,” I reply pulling away from him.
“Remember I can tell when you are lying to me.”
“I don’t want you to leave,” I tell him turning to him with tears falling.
“I don’t want to go.”
“Then why go? Stay here. Stay with me. Forget California.”
“Forget my home. Forget the place that I was born and lived all of my life,” he questions me. “You want me to forget all of that?”
“I planned on leaving for you.”
“But you are not happy here. I thought you wanted to come to California.”
I don’t want to argue. I just want to cry. What am I supposed to say to him? Yes, I admitted at one time I wanted to leave Illinois. The horrible freezing winters covered with snow. The forty mile drive to the office where I hate. I want to go to California. All of my dreams could come true. But saying goodbye to him is something I don’t think I can do.
“I just don’t think I can say goodbye to you. Don’t you understand that,” I weep.
“I understand more than you know,” he says coming to me wrapping his arms around me. “I don’t want to go either, but right now we have no choice.”
“I can come with you,” I state looking into his eyes with hope.
“Not yet. We have so many things we need to get done before you come for good.”
“I can’t leave you. I can’t. I won’t,” I order.
“We have a few more hours,” he says with the devious look on his face. “I think maybe we can use that time to make up for the days we will be apart.”
Three hours later after making love in bed twice and once in the shower then rushing to get ready and driving to the airport the time has come. I hate this feeling. The forty five minute drive to the airport was full of nothing but silence.
“Don’t park the car,” he tells me as I begin to drive into the entrance of the airport.
“Why not,” I question him.
“Because it will be harder to say goodbye to you in the airport.”
“I am waiting with you until your plane takes off,” I reveal to him.
“No, please. It will be easier this way.”
I begin the drive to his terminal and as quick as it was to fall in love with him he was out of the car. He jumps out of the car before I even have time to put into park.
I can’t do this. I get out of the car to help him with his bags. The tears begin to fall.
“Don’t cry,” he pleads with me. “Please don’t cry.”
“Ma’am, this is a no parking zone,” the guard shouts at the terminal door.
I pretend that I don’t hear the guard. I pretend that I don’t see all the people. I pretend that this isn’t goodbye.
He comes over to me wraps his strong arms around me. The tears are coming in floods. I can’t do it.
“I love you,” he whispers into my ear.
“I love you too,” I whimper.
And then he is gone. He walks away from me. Never once looking back towards me. And before I know it I am back in my car speeding away. I know if I don’t drive with my foot all the way down on the pedal, I would run into that airport and go with him.
The best three days of my life has now ended. Twenty minutes later, I find the little spot behind the airport, and put my head down on the steering wheel and let the tears fall. The tears keep falling for what seems like hours. And what seems like hours has actually been hours. When I put my head up the sun has gone down. I sat here in my car all day crying for the man I fell in love with and that I let leave.
It has been a month since I seen her last. It still aches knowing I had to leave her. We still talk almost everyday, but lately things have just been so crazy in my life that I don’t always have time for her. I know she is hurting from this. She has told me time and time again how I changed her life.
Now everything has changed. I haven’t told her yet what is going on. And I don’t know if I can. All the plans we have made could never occur if it is true. I can’t keep this from her forever. I know she can hear the fear in my voice.
I hate this. I hate what this is doing to us. But what am I going to do. I can’t tell her the truth. Well not yet.
I sit here in my office answering the phone trying to concentrate on work, but the only thing going through my head is visions of her. I can see her smile, I can feel the way her skin felt like silk, the softness of her hair. I remember the passion in her eyes.
“Hey, Shawn, I need you to go to Vegas next week,” Phil tells me breaking me out of my trance.
“Phil, I told you I wouldn’t be able to go last week,” I reply turning around looking at my boss in the face.
“I need you to go. There is no one else.”
“What do you expect me to do? I let you take off last month for a week and this is how you repay me,” Phil explains.
“That was my first vacation in three years. I think I deserved it from the way I have been here for you since the place opened up ten years ago,” I inform him.
“Shawn,” Mimi Lockhart interrupts. “You have a call on Line four.”
“Tell them you are busy, because we need to talk,” Phil tells me.
“Hello,” I answer.
“Hi, it’s me,” her giggly voice says.
“Hi, me. I can’t talk right now. I will call you tonight.”
“Okay, hope you have a good day. Love you, bye.”
“Never, and me too,” I say before quickly hanging up.
I walk away from the next following Phil into his office. The door shuts behind me. And now I know that I would have rather stayed with her than be back here.
Why does life have to be full of so many obstacles?
Another day. Another dollar. I enter my apartment falling onto my couch, hoping this is some sort of nightmare and I will wake up soon. Nightmare. This sure isn’t a dream. A dream would be if we were together in California living happily ever after and not dealing with the long distance.
I have to tell him the news. I can’t keep this from him forever. Yet, I am so tired. I just need to sleep. This news is not something to say over the phone. No, I have to go to him. I have to tell him this in person. First a little nap though.
My head hits the pillow on my bed. The bed where we were just a little over a month ago. It seems like it was yesterday at one moment and the next it seems like it has been forever.
Waking me up out of my dream where Shawn and I are together, is the ringing sound of my phone.
“Hello,” I mumble out.
“Hi,” he says with a hint of sorrow in his voice. “Did I wake you?”
“I’m awake. I’m awake,” I state. I know from our past conversations that if he knew how tired I really am, he would want me to go back to sleep. I need to talk to him.
“You don’t sound awake,” he tells me.
“I was just resting my eyes,” I giggle trying not to sound to guilty.
“How was your day,” he asks me.
“Okay,” I lie. He cannot know the truth just yet. I can’t tell him about the doctor’s appointment. “Yours?”
“Still going, of course,” he answers. “I called the office and they said you left early today. Is everything okay?”
I knew I should not have called him before I left work early. I thought he would have wanted until tonight to call me back. Out with it, Belle. Just spit it out.
“I had to go pick up some tickets,” I lie again. Wow. This is getting easier. He thought I could not lie to him. If he found out what I am hiding, he would probably freak out. I have to tell him in person.
“I am coming to visit,” I spit out as quick as I can.
“In two weeks. I know it is short notice, but I need to see you. I already took the days off,” I confess which isn’t a total lie.
“When,” he mumbles with a twitch of anger in his voice.
“Two weeks from this Thursday,” I admit. I did check flights, which are on hold until tomorrow. Things I do at work when people are not watching me. “My flight arrives there at 7:47 PM. And I leave Monday morning at 10:05 AM. I already have everything taken care of here. I would send you a couple hundred for the hotel room, if you can get a couple days off. Please, tell me you can.”
“This is short notice. Phil is already on my ass about something else. I will see what I can do and get back to you. I gotta go, drivers coming in,” he tells me. “Bye.”
“Wait, don’t hang up,” I mourn. “Shawn, I love you.”
“I know. Bye,” he says before the phone goes dead.
Great. He is angry. I need to get out of here. I need food. Food. Ice cream. Ice cream with potato chips. Yes. Sour cream and onion potato chips.
Fifteen minutes later I stand in line at the grocery store with my cookie dough ice cream, Diet Coke, and sour cream and onion potato chips. It is eight-thirty at night, why is there only one lane open in this place. Open another lane, I want to shout. Seven people in line and of course the lady in front is arguing over something that should be on sale. Who cares, it is only ten cents cheaper. Come on, I need this ice cream. Where is a spoon when I need one?
“You know they should open another lane,” I hear someone say from behind me.
“No kidding. This ice cream is shouting my name,” I state. “Plus it is a little cold in my hands.”
“How have you been,” he asks.
What? He? I know that voice. I turn around to be eye to eye with a dear old friend from high school.
“Rex! I can’t believe it,” I declare. “What are you doing here?”
“I just got out of work and I thought I would pick up a late night dinner. I would ask you, but it looks like you have a date,” he explains.
“With your ice cream, I mean,” he proclaims. He smiles at me and my knees begin to become weak.
Those pearly whites could always make me weak and so could those blue eyes of his. Wait! What am I thinking? I am thinking I need the company. Suddenly I can’t help it, but the tears begin.
“Is everything okay,” he questions taking the ice cream out of my hand putting it in his basket. He wraps his arm around me pulling me close.
“No,” I sob.
I can’t tell him how I met a guy on the internet. Hooked up. Fell in love. Planned a future together. Having a long distance relationship. And now I am pregnant with his child while he is still living 2200 miles away. Now how do you tell a guy that you have adored for years that without making him run for the exit?
I cannot believe it. How could this have happened? I know how. I know how this could have happened. She is stubborn. The part of her I love so much, the same part that frustrates me so much. She knows something is wrong and she will do anything in her power to fix it.
Maybe this will help. Maybe a visit from the woman that loves me unconditionally will help me. I don’t know if I can still tell her though. How do I tell her that the future we had planned might not happen.
I lay here on my futon in the little room where I spend my evenings in the office. The movie I put into watch is going, but I don’t pay attention to it. I lay here and ponder what the hell am I going to do. I can’t help myself. I reach for the phone. I know it is way to late for her, but I have to hear her voice.
“Hello,” a strange male voice answers the phone.
“Is Belle there,” I ask. I have to ask. Maybe I dialed the number wrong. No, that can’t be it. I have dialed the number so many times, I know it is right. But who is this voice.
“She is sleeping,” he whispers.
“May I ask who I am speaking too,” I question.
Did she go find someone else because of what happened? There has to be an explanation for this. There has to be. I know her. I trust her.
“You realize that it is two in the morning. She works tomorrow, you know that, right,” the guy asked.
“Yes, I do. I also know that she would like to talk to me if I call,” I tell him.
“So you are the guy that left here alone to deal with the baby.”
“BABY? Please, let me talk to her,” I beg.
This can’t be happening. Not yet. That is probably why she wanted to see me so bad.
“She needs her sleep,” he stated firmly.
“What are you her doctor,” I ask. “Please, just tell her I am on the phone. She can then decide whether or not to talk to me.”
I sit here for what seems like an eternity. What is going on there? A baby. She is pregnant. I can’t believe this is happening. What are we going to do?
“She says to go away. She is not up for talking anymore tonight,” he tells me.
“Before I go, I need to know something. Please.”
“What is it?”
“How is she?”
“I am a friend of hers from school. I ran into her a few hours ago at the grocery store. She had the most unusual craving for ice cream and potato chips. She just began to cry on my shoulder. I bought her home and she told me what was going on. She feels okay. I know that is more than you asked, but I thought you had the right to know.”
“Thank you for telling me and for taking care of her,” I say before hanging up the phone.
I lay back down pondering what the hell I am going to do now. A daddy. I am going to be a dad. Now how do I tell her that the father of her child may not be alive to see my daughter or son be born.
I jump out of his car. It had been two weeks since I found him in the grocery store. Almost like a stray dog. With those deep blue eyes, I could not help but take him home. And every night he showed up at my door making sure I was eating right and getting plenty of sleep.
We sat at the kitchen table talking about our past or watching movies eating popcorn all night. At night once he left I would call Shawn and we would talk. He seemed distant much like Rex did at certain times.
“Are you going to be okay,” Rex asks taking my bag out of the trunk of his car.
“I will be fine,” I reply like a robot.
I go to walk into the airport when he reaches for my arm. I turn around to see those baby blues staring back at me.
“Will you tell him about the baby,” he wonders.
The baby. This is the first time he has mentioned those two things together since I told him. Rex never says anything about Shawn. He never asked about what I am going to do or if Shawn knows.
“Good luck,” Rex says wrapping his arms around me. For some reason I believe he means it. I know our past was one made of nightmares and demons, but now that has changed. We grew up.
I walk away from him heading towards my future in California. Goodbye snow and clouds.. Hello to sunshine, blue skies, and the ocean.
Now I sit here in Chicago at the airport. A darn two hour layover which was supposed to be only an hour has now turn into a nightmare. Deciding whether or not to call I find a phone booth and dial the number I know by heart. Ringing... Ringing.. so many rings and still no pick up. Finally the voice mail picks up.
“Hi, it’s me. I am stuck in Chicago for another hour. I have no idea when I will be there, but I wish I was already there. I miss you so much. We have so much we have to talk about. I can’t wait to see you. I love you,” I say before hanging up.
Hanging up I know he should have answered. He should have his phone next to him. What if he didn’t want to see me? Our phone calls have been pretty short lately. He doesn’t have that spark in his voice like he once did. We don’t laugh as much as we use to. As some say, is the honeymoon over?
Suddenly my stomach begins to growl. I have an hour to waste in this airport where love ones sit together reading the paper heading over to destinations unknown. I see mothers’ holding their children in their arms. I see a young couple looking through a flyer for Bermuda. I see friends sitting next to one another listening to their portable CD players reading the latest styles in the magazines. And I sit here surrounded by all of this watching everyone else. I sit here alone. Alone. Pregnant. And alone.
Finally not being able to take anymore of this, I walk away. I search for something to eat. Nothing looks good. Concession stand after concession stand. Nothing looks good to me. Finally I find it. I don’t know why, but french fries sound good to me at the moment. I don’t even like french fries.
“Is this all your doing,” I ask looking down towards my stomach after I look around hoping no one notices.
After two baskets of french fries I go back to my gate where finally it is time to to go. I take my seat on the plane lay back and relax. The trip isn’t even half way over, but I am already exhausted. I close my eyes to rest for a moment. It will be a long flight to California. A long 5 hour flight.
I open my eyes to the sound of the stewardess requesting us to buckle our seat belts and put the seats to the upright position. I hear the pilot mention that the sky is clear and a cool sixty-five degrees here in Los Angeles.
I slept through the entire trip. No looking out the window seeing the world from 900 feet above the air. I didn’t get to see anything but the inside of my eyelids. It doesn’t matter, I am here. My first trip to California. My first trip to my future home.
I walk through the corridor of my plane. Through the airport. Heading to my terminal where my bags will be. I stand there at the carousel waiting for the bags to begin to come. While waiting, I look through the crowd trying to catch a glimpse of Shawn. The room is beginning to spin. A headache is breaking. Finally through the crowd I catch him on the other side of the room looking for me. Suddenly our eyes meet. A smile breaks across his face and I can feel the butterflies in my stomach.
I can’t wait any longer. I begin to push myself through the crowd as so does he. I need his arms around me. I need his lips upon mine. I need to know everything will be okay.
Here we are standing face to face. He takes me in his arms holding me so close. Everyone in the airport disappears. At this moment I know that we will be okay.
“I have missed you so much,” he whispers in my ear.
“Me, too,” I reply never wanting to let him go.
Finally after what seems like eternity we break the connection, grab my bags, and head outside to wait for our ride. He keeps looking at me with a look I have not seen before. It isn’t just a look of desire or of love. It is something else. I can’t put my finger on it.
“Our chariot awaits, my dear,” he speaks holding out his hand to reveal our ride.
I feel like a movie star when I get into the black stretch limousine that awaits for us. As we sit in the limousine on our way to the hotel I lay in his arms. He lays his hand on my stomach laying his head back to relax. This is how it is supposed to be. This is where the good life begins.
Here she lays against me. I want to tell her everything. I want to take her in my arms and tell her everything will be all right. How can I do that? How can I promise her everything will be fine when I don’t know? How can I tell her I know about the baby when I might not be here six months from now?
“Are we there yet,” she moans sitting up and trying to stretch.
“Extremely. I am not use to flying,” she says before laying her head back down on my shoulder.
“This was only the second time, if I recall. It’s probably just nerves,” I tell her knowing full well it’s the nerves along with the baby growing inside of her.
“Once we get to the hotel I am sure I will be fine,” she whispers looking up at me.
Her hand reaches up to my face letting her fingers trace my lips. Oh, how I have missed her. I lean down to kiss her. Our lips meeting for a sensual kiss, and I can’t help but feel guilty.
“Shawn,” Rick, the chauffeur, says putting the divider down.
Belle jumps across the seat to her side of the car. She seems frightened. I sit up straight wondering what the driver wants now.
“What is it Rick,” I ask.
“What hotel is it,” he wonders.
I look over at Belle who seems preoccupied with the scenery outside to notice me. The drivers sometimes drive me nuts, and she knows this. I have only told Rick several times which hotel Belle and I are staying at and still he asks again.
“It is the Marriott on Garden Grove right before Highway Five,” I answer. “We are in the back, so go through the driveway on Garden Grove and head to the left.”
Rick put the divider back up and I slid over to Belle. She looks so tense. I know she is fighting the demons of telling me about the baby. How do I tell her that I already know?
“What are you thinking about,” I ask.
“Sitting here looking at the world passing me by. It’s strange. Life never turns out like you expect. Things seem so peaceful looking out of this window, but I know it isn’t.”
“It can be one day. Peaceful, you know. I know this isn’t what you had planned for your life, but things happen for a reason,” I tell her not really knowing what I am saying.
“I need to tell you something,” Belle says turning around to look at me.
Our eyes meet and I see the tears. I don’t know what I can do to stop the pain. She doesn’t know about my health, yet she is carrying the burden of telling me about the baby.
“I know what it is,” I state wiping the tears away. “Honey, I don’t know how we are going to do this, but we will.”
“What are you talking about,” she asks me.
“I know about the baby. I know about our baby. Your friend, what’s his name, told me one night when I called.”
She turns away from me once again looking outside. I can feel her heart breaking. I can’t deal with her pushing me away.
Suddenly the limousine stopped informing me that we were now at the hotel. Being alone in a hotel room with Belle and not in a moving vehicle would work much better for our conversation.
Within minutes and in total silence we enter our hotel room. She can’t even look at me. I need to explain myself.
“Please, lay down for a bit,” I tell her.
“I’m not tired. Not anymore that is,” she tells me heading towards the windows looking outside to the night sky.
“I didn’t know how to bring up that I knew about the baby. We will figure this out, Belle,” I tell her.
“What about you,” she questions turning around.
“What about me?”
“I have this feeling that there is something else you are keeping from me.”
“Right now it does not matter. You and I are going to be together and this baby you are carrying will always be part of that,” I tell her before I kiss her gently.
“I love you, Shawn.”
“I love you too, Belle. And we will get through all of this,” I tell her trying to remind myself also.
He knew. I can’t believe he knew. He has known all this time. Yet he never told me. Why is this happening? If he knew why didn’t he tell me. Could it have to do with what he is hiding from me?
I lay next to him in bed watching his chest go up and down. He looks so peaceful when he is sleeping. I had almost forgotten what this felt like just watching him. I gently brush my hands through his hair. He is so handsome. One day soon our child will be born and we will be together.
I hear his phone ringing over on the desk across the room. I have to answer it so he doesn’t wake up. He was so tired after we made love that he barely even kissed me good night. Something about that man. After we make love he always ends up turning around and goes straight to sleep. I hear that is typical though.
“Hello,” I answer picking up his phone after the third ring.
“Hi, this is Lauren at Dr. Mackenzie’s office. We were just calling to confirm Shawn’s appointment for tomorrow,” the young woman states.
“I will remind him. Thank you,” I agreed hanging up the phone.
“Was that my phone,” he asks turning around from the bed with his sleepy eyes still half closed.
“Yes, it was. What are you doing awake, mister,” I wonder crawling back into bed and kissing him slowly and gently on his lips.
“Someone was not next to me,” he tells me kissing me back.
“Well I am here now,” I whisper in his ear.
Hours have now passed. After spending most of the morning in bed together, making love until we both fell back asleep, I open my eyes to see a note next to me.
He is gone. Gone. He could not even wake me up to tell me he was leaving.
I knew you needed your sleep, well you and the baby. I had to run
to the office for a bit, but I will be back as soon as I can.
I’m sorry about leaving you in the hotel by yourself. I will
bring back a little something for you.
So at least he would be back soon. I hope he is back soon. Yet I need to find out a few things before he does come back. I need to know what is going on. Good ole research from friends back home.
“Hello,” she answers.
“Hi, Aunt Jennifer, it’s your favorite niece,” I chuckle.
“Well, long time no hear, Isabella. What can I do for you,” she asks me knowing me oh too well.
“A little research. I will promise you my first born if you do this little favor for me,” I tell her.
“Oh come on, I already have two kids of my own and that is not including Jack.”
“Cute. By the way how are Abigail and Alison?”
“Cut the small talk, Isabella, you are not good at it, remember?”
“Okay. I need some information on a Dr. Mackenzie in the Westminster, California area. What does he/she specialize in? Little things like that. As soon as you can, please. You can reach me at the Marriott in Garden Grove, California.”
“Does this have anything to do with Shawn,” Jennifer wonders.
“It has everything to do with him,” I reply.
“Does he know about the baby,” she interrogates.
“What! How did you know.”
“I am a private investigator. It’s my duty to know these things. Don’t worry no one knows except Jack and I. We won’t tell the family.”
“Thanks, I appreciate it. I better go, he’s back from the office,” I tell her hearing the door unlock. “Give the girls a hug for me,” I say before I hang up the phone.
He walks in looking tired and I know something is wrong. He sits next to me on the bed looking up into my eyes.
“I’m sorry about leaving without saying goodbye,” he tells me while pushing a strand of my long locks behind my ear.
“Somehow I think it won’t be the last time you do that while I am here,” I reply putting my hand on his forearm.
“Well I do have bad news. Tomorrow I have to go to the office for a few hours and I don’t know what time I will be back,” he explains.
It’s the doctor’s appointment. Something is terribly wrong with him and he won’t tell me. Serves me right though. I can’t tell him I know about the appointment, he would think I was trying to pry. I just can’t do it.
“We have tonight at least,” I comment pulling myself away from him.
It was so hard to say goodbye to her this morning. After an incredible night filled with not only laughter, sadness and passion, but filled with hope. I said goodbye to her this morning. I had taken her out to dinner to a little club, then showed her some of the sites last night, then finally coming back to our hotel room where nothing needed to be said.
Now I sit here in the doctor’s office waiting for this dreadful appointment. I already know how this appointment will end. And I know one of these days I will have to tell Belle the truth. But not now.
“Shawn, we are ready for you,” the nurse says opening the door to the waiting room.
And this is where it begins. I hate doctors. Always have. I hate to be sick. Always have. And now I have to count on doctors to figure out the best solution for me.
The best solution would for me to take Belle and run. Run as far away as possible. But once the disease takes over my body, I won’t be worth anything to her. Her nor the baby.
“Shawn, first we are going to start with taking some blood,” the nurse who could be just a couple of years older than I told me.
“More,” I gasp. “Haven’t all of you taken enough of it.”
“We need to see how many red blood cells you have. The doctor should be in soon,” she said minutes later.
I laid upon the hospital table drowsy from the amount. Every other day it seemed like they were taking more and more from me. If they thought taking my blood was going to make me better, they were wrong.
I sit here for what seems like hours when my cell phone vibrates in my jacket pocket that I am laying my head on.
“Hello,” I answer.
“Hi. I was just wondering how work was going,” she says. I knew I should have looked on who was calling me before picking it up.
“It’s fine. Just busy right now,” I reply.
And suddenly the door opens revealing the doctor.
“How are you feeling today, Shawn,” the doctor wonders walking in without looking up at me.
“I gotta go,” I tell Belle before waiting for a reply I hang up on her.
I know when I get back to the hotel I will have some explaining to do, but right now was not the time.
“From the blood work the last time, it looks like some of the medication we gave you slowed down things. But only a little bit. What I need from you today is more tests. And some transfusions should keep up your red blood count at least for awhile until we can get you in here again.”
“Just do what you gotta do. I have more pressing matters at the moment,” I tell the doctor knowing Belle was at the hotel by herself.
“There are a few things you need to know first. We have some new medication for you to try. Things are not moving as quickly as I would like, so we are going to switch your meds. The new ones are going to make you very drowsy,” the doctor explains.
“Actually I have a couple of questions for you about something. My girlfriend is pregnant with our first child. Will my health cause any problems for the baby,” I question.
I could not let something to Belle nor our baby if I could. As much as I don’t want to tell Belle exactly what is going on right now, I have to protect her.
“I didn’t know you were seeing anyone,” the doctor comments. “How long have you been together?”
“A few months. I just want to know if this thing,” I ask pulling my arm up showing the many needle marks I have gone through in the past month or so,” will hurt the baby.”
“Does your girlfriend know?”
“That is not what I asked,” I tell him.
“She doesn’t, does she? You should tell her. You will need someone with you when the treatments begin.”
“I will worry about that. But what about the baby?”
“It depends on how far along she is. If she is still in her first trimester things should be fine,” the doctor says.
“Just calm down, Shawn. This isn’t hereditary. But just make sure she has the proper examinations.”
I could not risk losing Belle or the baby. Knowing that those two would be left here on earth after I pass, just makes things better. Knowing Belle will always have a part of me with her. I need to make sure everything will be okay.
He hung up on me. It has been 4 hours since he left. I needed to know what was going on, so I called him. Now I sit here waiting. And waiting. I have to know what is going on.
Dialing the familiar number, I hope she has found out what I was looking for.
“Hello,” he answers.
“Hey, there Jack, how you doing,” I ask.
“Well, well, if it isn’t the long lost niece,” Jack laughs.
“Hey, Uncle Jack,” I giggle knowing he hates to be called uncle.
“For that I am not going to tell you what Jennifer and I found out,” Jack replied.
“Oh come on. I will bring you back a really expensive souvenir.”
“I never did like California. Not interested. But I bet you will be interested to know that Dr. Mackenzie’s specialty is leukemia.”
“Really. Anything else.”
“Yeah, from the records, your boyfriend has only been seeing him for a couple of weeks. I am sorry, Belle,” Jack apologized. “From what I heard this guy sounded like a great guy, maybe the guy.”
“He is. Now if I could only get him to admit that to me.”
“Well I think the baby was the first clue. Will you tell him you know what is going on.”
“I have too, don’t I.”
“Yeah, I say you do.”
“Thanks, Jack. I owe you one.”
“What are you talking about, you owe me more than one,” Jack laughed hanging up.
“Great, now what,” I ask myself.
I sit there for another hour pacing in the hotel room, when it comes to me. There is only one thing to do. Even though it isn’t the greatest plan, I have to do it.
Two hours later I sit here in the middle of the airport. After a few phone calls, and some favors, I did exactly what I told myself I would not do. Run.
Flipping through the magazine, ignoring the crowd around me, I just drift. Drift away. I know once he gets back to the hotel and finds the letter, he won’t be happy. He had to know I was going to do this once I found out.
I need to be home. I need to do this. Not just for me, but for our baby. I know he needs me with him right now. But if he can’t trust me with this, he can’t trust me with anything.
It has been three weeks and four days since she left. Almost a month. I had picked up the phone several times to call her. To explain to her. And every time I stopped myself from dialing that last number. Hanging up, every time.
I knew what I did was wrong. But I did not want anything to happen to her. Or the baby for that matter.
I sit here at work trying not to think of her, but I can’t stop. I can’t stop. I need to see her. I need to be with her. I need to know if she is okay and if the baby, our baby is okay.
“Shawn, Phil wants to know if you have the quarterly report,” Mimi wonders walking into my office. “Shawn. Shawn.”
“Oh, sorry, Mimi, what was that,” I finally say breaking out of my daydream.
“The quarterly report,” Mimi replies. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, peachy,” I mumble knowing my heart is breaking for not going after Belle the day she left.
I remember that day like it was yesterday. I will always remember that day. Coming back into the hotel after a long 7 hour doctor’s appointment and stopping into the office, I noticed immediately. She was gone.
Searching everywhere for something she left behind. Hoping she had just taken a walk somewhere. But nothing. All of her things were gone. It had appeared like she had never been in this hotel room with me.
Finally I caught a glimpse of the piece of paper sitting on the bed where she had laid next to me the night before. The note was to the point.
Shawn, Looks Like I was not the only one keeping secrets. Belle
And there it laid the open phone book to the yellow pages. Open to the Physician’s section. The name popped out towards me. Dr. Anthony Mackenzie, Oncologist. She knew. And that was it.
“Shawn,” Mimi scowls.
“Oh, sorry, here is that report,” I state handing something in front of me that resembles a report.
“Shawn, this is the monthly report for gas usage, I need the quarterly report for the phone,” Mimi barks.
“Oh, I know it is here somewhere,” I comment digging through my desk for the report I had received just a couple of hours ago.
“Shawn, you know what you need,” Mimi says.
“What do I need?”
“You need to call her. You will not be the same until you do. And on that note, I am going to tell Phil to give you a couple days off. Go see her, forget calling,” Mimi explains. “Oh, and whatever you did, flowers always work.”
“Mimi, flowers will not even come close to the mess I made,” I explain. “But thank you.”
Two days. Two days to explain to her why I did what I did. Two days to get there. Two days to find her and tell her I am sorry. I only have two days.
It has been six hours since that conversation with Mimi. She told me to go see Belle. And that is what I am doing. Now I sit here on the plane nervous as hell.
What if she won’t see me? I need to see her. I have to explain to her. Damn, I forgot the doctor’s appointment tomorrow. Oh well. Belle and our baby comes first.
I have to let her know that. No matter what I have to get Belle back. I didn’t really think ahead about this trip. So nothing is in order.
Luckily Phil gave me until the day after tomorrow to get back. So I get two nights with her. Or two nights alone in a hotel room. No, I have to fight for her. I will do whatever it takes to get her back.
Here I sit not being able to finish my French fries with barbecue sauce that I so desperately craved fifteen minutes ago. Dragging Rex to the local mall was not such a good idea I realize now.
“You should at least try to enjoy my company,” Rex states taking one of the fries dripping with the spicy sauce. “Not bad,” he smiles.
“I am enjoying myself,” I tell him.
“Then why do you look like your best friend just died,” he wonders taking my hand in his.
“I dragged you here with me to shop for a couple of new maternity outfits for the office. I still don’t know why you didn’t put up a bigger fight.”
“Because as I told you the night you returned from California that I would always be here with you. No matter what I will be here for you. Always,” he explains to me while his thumb moves in circular motions on my hand.
“How did I get so lucky in finding a friend like you,” I whisper with the tears beginning to form.
“I’m the lucky one.”
“How about we blow this popsicle stand,” I suggest pulling away from him.
“Sounds good to me.”
Rex comes with me as I shop. As we enter the third boutique, I feel her. My hands instantly drop to my bulging tummy. Being in my sixth month of pregnancy everyone now knows that I am pregnant.
“What’s wrong,” Rex asks dropping the two bags he offered to carry for me rushing to my side.
“She’s kicking. Here feel,” I say grabbing his hand pressing it on my stomach.
“Oh,” he laughs as the baby kicks again. “Does it hurt when she does that?”
“Just a little, not to much though. It’s kind of nice except when I am trying to sleep,” I reply.
“Awww, look Ginger. Aren’t they so cute,” I hear from the bystanders sitting in the chairs in the center of the isles where we are standing just feet away from.
“Son, will this be your first,” a older gentleman asks Rex.
The man surprises Rex when he puts his hand on Rex’s shoulder.
“Children are a gift from god. Just hope it’s a boy because if it’s a girl you will never want for her to leave your sight. The first time a boy comes knocking at your door to take you Princess out, you want to lock her in the attic until she’s thirty,” the old man explains smiling at me.
I can’t help but smiled back. Rex will make a wonderful father. He is so gently and caring. Passionate. Wonderful. Sexy. Everything a woman would want.
“This will be our first,” I acknowledge before looking into Rex’s eyes.
That is when I see it. After all this time, I never caught it. But now I do. He wants this child as much as I do.
“William, stop bothering this lovely couple,” another lady says taking William’s hand.
The older couple walks away leaving us alone. Suddenly it felt like Rex and I are the only two people around. I can’t help it when I bring my lips to his for a kiss.
I pull away as soon as I can taking one of the bags and walking into the last boutique with a grin across my face.
Suddenly things feel different. Things feel good. I feel good. The first time in weeks I feel like things will work out. This baby and I will be fine.
The next hour passes as I try on outfit after outfit. Dresses. Pant suits. Slacks. Rex and the sales associate are the judges as I step out of the dressing room each time. Rex was made for moments like this. The seductive smiles, the whistling, the nods of approvement or disapprovement makes it easier.
Finally we are done. No more shopping for the night let alone the next month. He guides me to my apartment building with his hand on the small of my back. His other hand carries two of my bags while I hold the others.
I can’t get enough of him suddenly. I don’t want him to leave. I feel a need for him like I never had before.
We stop at my apartment, while I fish out my keys. As I begin to open the door, I stop. Turning to Rex I see that sparkle in his eyes as if I can see his soul.
Next thing our mouths meet. Dropping all the bags he pulls me into him as far as he can with my belly. My tongue gains entrance as we begin to feast on one another. We can’t get enough of each other. His arms around my waist. His hand under the back of my shirt touching me.
“Stay with me,” I say to him. “Make love to me.”
He guides me into my apartment without breaking contact.
My apartment door shuts without me ever noticing the figure in the shadows watching us. Without me noticing the tears begin to fall.
I never notice. At the moment not caring about anything but the man in my arms kissing me everywhere.