I leaned into Tommy’s side on the sofa in my room. Mama didn’t really like Tommy hanging out in my room with me, but she and Mom were both out right now.
He played with the ends of my hair and continued what he’d been talking about. “So, now that the library project is over, Dad’s got an offer to work on a new house. It won’t be too far from here, actually.” The library had had some unexpected delays and been finished much later than expected. It was something I’d been secretly happy about.
I smiled and looked over at him, away from the chick flick we were watching. “So we could have lunch together whenever you work weekends.” I leaned my head on his shoulder. “I was a little worried you’d be leaving.”
His arm tightened around my shoulders. “Wherever you are, that’s where I want to be.”
I leaned in and kissed him deeply, sliding my arms around him to press closer into his body. When we finally parted for air, I murmured his name against his ear. He didn’t need any further indication.
I walked downstairs, one hand on my queasy stomach. It’s just nausea. Sometimes that happens. Except that I was late. Not a lot late, but late. Late and nauseous. The very thought that I might be…it made the roiling sensation in my stomach worse.
I felt all shaky as I walked towards the gym. This was Mom’s usual work out time, and I could hear the TV going – the kid’s channel. She liked to say she’d just gotten used to it from having two kids around. I swallowed hard and stared at the door.
How was I supposed to tell her I might be pregnant? This wasn’t fair. Tommy and I had been completely safe – we always were. You weren’t supposed to get pregnant if you took all the precautions. I paced around the hallway, worrying my lower lip. You’ve just got to do it.
I swallowed hard and opened the door. “Hey, Mom?” I said as I stepped inside. “Can I talk to you?”
She switched the TV off and stepped off the treadmill. “What is it, hon?”
I shifted back and forth on my feet, trying to keep down the breakfast I hadn’t eaten. “Mom, I’m worried…I’m worried that I’m pregnant.”
The moment that she just stared at me was the longest of my life. Finally, she let out a deep breath. “Okay.” She nodded, more to herself than me. “Okay. It’s going to be alright. I’m glad you came to me.”
I gave her a tiny smile. “Are you mad?”
She sighed softly. “I’m not mad. I’m not happy, but I am thankful that you came straight to me. The two of us will go tell your mother and then we’ll go to the hospital and get you checked out.”
I balked at the mention of Mama. “Can’t we just go to the hospital by ourselves and then if it’s positive, we’ll tell Mama?”
“That’s not how this works.” Mom wrapped her arm around my shoulder. “She might freak out a little, but I don’t think she’ll be angry either. If she is, I’ll have to remind her that we all make mistakes.”
Though it was the last thing I wanted to do, Mom and I went next door and into Mama’s office.
“Camille? Can you come over here and sit down?”
Mama looked back at us. Her eyes widened with some alarm when she saw how miserable I looked and the serious look on Mom’s face. “What is it? What’s happened?” She came over and dropped down on the couch next to Mom.
I wrung my hands in my lap. “I’m scared I could be pregnant, Mama.”
“You’re what?” I’d never heard Mama’s voice go that high before. “You can’t be pregnant!”
Mom put her hands up in a calming way. “Camille, don’t freak out. We don’t know if she is or isn’t yet.”
“Pregnant!” Mama cried, as if she still couldn’t believe what she’d heard. “Weren’t you safe?”
Where was a hole in the ground when I needed one? “We were. I just – I feel so sick the last couple days. And I’m not…on time.” I sniffed, fighting back tears. “I’m sorry, Mama.”
Her shoulders sagged as the heat went out of her. “It’s going to be okay,” she said, echoing her wife.
Mom reached over and squeezed my leg. “The three of us are going to go down to the hospital and see what’s what. Then we’ll deal with whatever the outcome is.”
Mama and I sat in Mom’s office while we waited for the tests to come back. We didn’t talk much. I just wanted to crawl under the sofa and never come out. Despite the rush put on my tests, the wait felt interminable.
Finally – finally – Mom walked through the door with a smile on her face. “You are officially not pregnant. You’ve just got a very mild case of the flu.”
I sagged back against the couch, tears of relief escaping from my eyes. “Oh, my Watcher.”
Mom sat down in the chair next to me. “I don’t think it really needs to be said that this shouldn’t happen again.”
“I understand that you’re growing up and you feel things for Tommy, but I don’t want you having sex again until you’re out of high school,” Mama said sternly.
Mom nodded. “I agree with your mother.”
After this ordeal, I’d be an old lady before I ever wanted to have sex again. “I swear. No more sex.”
“Good,” Mama said as she got up. “Also, you’re grounded. For, like, ever.”
A few days later, after I’d gotten over my bout with the flu, I drove down to Tommy’s before heading home. I was grounded – not forever, but for a month – so I wasn’t really supposed to be here, but I had to talk to him. I didn’t want to deal with his parents, though, so I sat in the car and texted him to see if he was home and told him I was outside.
A minute later and Tommy appeared outside. I got out of the car and wrapped my arms around him. “Hey.”
He squeezed me tight. “Hey, baby. Not that I’m complaining, but what are you doing here? You told me yesterday over the phone that you’re grounded from everything but school and work.”
I pulled back but held onto his hands. “I needed to talk to you. The other day, I thought I might be pregnant.” It was almost comical the way his eyes bulged out of his head like that. I quickly rushed on to say, “But I’m not! It was just the flu. But I had to tell my parents and go get tested. So, I had to swear that we wouldn’t have sex anymore.” I bit my lower lip, nervous. He’d never really struck me as the kind of person to put the physical part of our relationship before the rest, but I couldn’t help but feel afraid that he’d end things now. Waiting until the end of high school was a long time.
“What a roller coaster.” He laughed in a quick huff. “But you don’t have to look so worried. I mean, it sucks, but you won’t be grounded forever right? We’re still going to see each other.”
I smiled at him. What had I been thinking? “Yeah, we are.”
He leaned in and kissed me. “I love you, Loralee. I’d wait forever for you.”