I drove home in a state of shock. Pregnant, I thought as I stepped out onto the sidewalk. I couldn’t possibly be pregnant. Carter and I were always safe – I was on the pill…
I dropped onto the bench on the porch as realization hit me. Just over a month ago, I’d gotten sick and Shirley had prescribed antibiotics. I had completely forgotten. I’d never dreamed that I even really could get pregnant now; I was in my forties. Women in their forties didn’t just fall pregnant.
From inside, I could hear the strains of guitar music and knew that Carter was practicing in the living room. How was I going to tell him? He’d never once talked about having any kids of his own. What if he didn’t want that kind of responsibility? It was one thing to help me raise Joshua and Nora – both of them looked at him as more of an older brother, not a parent. It would be vastly different to be a father.
And then there were the health risks! What if he did want the baby, but then we found out it was sick? How could I ask him to raise a child who would never be normal? Could I even ask myself to?
Tears burned the backs of my eyelids as I squeezed them shut. I could remember being so filled with joy, overflowing with happiness, when Joshua and Nora came into the world. Would that be the case this time? This might be the thing that sent him running for the hills. Because if he didn’t want to raise a child, I knew our relationship would be over.
Slowly, I forced myself to my feet. I couldn’t keep it from him. Shirley had, as delicately as she could, asked me if I was sure I wanted to keep the baby. I hadn’t had to think about it. Even unplanned, this was my baby. And it was my own piece of Carter that I could cherish even if he left. So I had to go in there now and tell him. It wouldn’t be any easier tomorrow or next week.
I went inside. Carter was playing one of my favorites, one of his own compositions. I wanted to stand back and listen, but I needed to get this out before I chickened out. “Carter,” I said loudly over the music.
He stopped playing and put the guitar down, smiling at me. “Hey, Haddie. Did you have a good time at your sister’s?”
I walked over to him, trying not to show how terrified I was. “Let’s sit down, Carter.”
He frowned. “Hadley, what’s wrong?”
I pulled him down onto the sofa and took a slow breath. “Carter, I didn’t go to Shirley’s today. Shirley and I went to the hospital.”
He sat up straighter, looking at me worriedly. “Is something wrong? Are you okay?”
I had to swallow a couple of times before I could make myself talk again. “I’m okay, but there is something you need to know. I’m pregnant.”
He stared at me blankly for a long moment. I almost felt like I could hear the gears in his head screech to a dead stop. “You’re…pregnant?” I nodded, holding my breath. A grin split his face, brighter than the noon-day sun. “I’m going to be a father?”
In a rush, he pulled me to my feet and swept me into his arms. I clung to him, burying my face in his shoulder as relief poured out of me. “I was so worried that you would be upset.”
“Upset?” He laughed in excitement. “How could I ever be upset? This is amazing.” He kissed me passionately and hugged me tight again. “I love you so much. I never thought we’d have a little ankle biter.”
“You never told me you wanted a baby,” I said reproachfully.
“You always said you were happy with two. I loved you more than the idea of a kid. Are you happy, Hadley? I know Joshua and Nora are so much older.”
I smiled and sniffed back tears. “Oh, yes. I am so happy.”
A/N: *bounces* I’ve barely been able to contain myself. I’m so happy this chapter is finally out. Tiny Carter baby. ❤