I bent over the toilet and heaved up what felt like everything I’d ever eaten. It was the ninth morning in a row that I’d woken up nauseous – six of those days, I’d actually been sick. At first, I’d thought I just had a stomach bug, but now I was starting to feel worried.
As I got up to brush away the foul taste in my mouth, my stomach growled. As always, once I’d thrown up, I became ravenous. Something was definitely going…
This wasn’t something that could be happening. Nausea in the mornings? Followed by hunger? How long had it been since…the sex. I could still hardly believe it had happened. It had been almost two months since that night. I’d never kept track of my times of the month – ever since my first I’d been irregular. But not two monthsirregular.
I stumbled onto the landing and sank down on the sofa in Mom’s art nook. I couldn’t be – I couldn’t be that, could I? I couldn’t even make myself think the word! Oh, Watcher, why hadn’t I said no when Kurt said he didn’t have protection? I’d been so busy being lost in his eyes and his kisses that I’d just done whatever he wanted.
I laughed aloud bitterly. I’d been so stupid, right from the moment I met him. So caught up in the magic of being liked that I’d completely failed to notice how hollow his complements were. The emptiness in his beautifully colored eyes. I’d fallen head over heels for him, and been willing to do absolutely anything. And I had.
My stomach roiled but not from the nausea I’d just experienced. From anxiety, from fear. How could I possibly tell my mother, my mother who had been through so much and was raising two young kids of her own, that I might be…pregnant. Though silent, I spat the word out, forcing myself to think it.
I needed to do something. I needed to know for sure.
Quickly, I got to my feet and ran downstairs. I ducked into my room to grab my wallet then headed outside. I’d go to the nearest drug store. It was Saturday, so maybe I’d be home before anyone got up – I’d always been an early riser. If not, I could say I’d just gone out for a walk. It would be a little unusual for me, but they probably wouldn’t really think about it.
I took a cab to the closest drug store, but balked at the door. Did they even sell pregnancy tests to minors? Surely they did…I wished I’d taken my hair out of the pigtails I usually wore. I might look a little older.
There’s only one way to find out…Swallowing hard against the nerves – and the nausea – in my stomach, I went into the store. The clerk didn’t even look up from his magazine as I came in, so there was that, at least. I quickly perused the aisles until found them. The pregnancy tests. There were so many options; how was I supposed to know the best one? Finally, I just picked a box of three and went to the counter.
I couldn’t look at the clerk as he rang me up, not even to see if he was judging me. I just stared at the counter as heat suffused my face. Being shy and a red-head really freaking sucked. I paid and grabbed the bag, just barely muttering a thank you as I all but ran out of the building.
Back at home, I walked into the upstairs bathroom and took the first test.
And I waited.
I stared at the test on the edge of the sink as I waited the requisite amount of time before I could check the results. Please, dear Watcher, please don’t let me be pregnant.
I checked my phone over and over again. Is it time yet? How long has it been? Three minutes passed by like three eternities, each longer than the last. Then, when it was finally time, when I could finally look, I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to see what the test said. I wanted to go on being Nora, the shy, bookish girl with flimsy dreams of being a writer. If that test was positive…it was all over.
I couldn’t wait anymore. I could hear, across the hall, Mom and Carter moving around, talking. Getting ready to start their days. She would make breakfast, would expect me there. I needed to see what was on the test.
I picked it up and looked at the little pink plus sign.
I was pregnant.
I didn’t cry. I think I went into something like shock. I hid the test I’d taken as well as the unused ones at the bottom of the trash can, then washed my hands.
Mom and Carter came out of their room. I heard them giggling then a soft smack followed by, “Carter.” Giggling. They were flirting as they went downstairs to make breakfast. Still so in love with each other despite the differences between them and how long they’d been together. I’d fantasized about that with Kurt, at one point. Marrying him, having children with him.
Oh, Watcher, I was pregnant.
I started to hyperventilate, but I managed to get myself under control. Go out there. Pretend I’m okay for about thirty minutes. Go to my room. I could manage that. After I got to my room, I’d think of what I was going to do next. I just had to get there.
I went downstairs and could already smell bacon frying. I usually tended not to like bacon much, but, now, it made my mouth water. Cravings already?
Carter smiled over at me from his spot at the kitchen table “Good morning, Nora.”
I pasted on a smile and sat down at the table. “Hey.”
“How are you, honey?” Mom asked as she set a platter of bacon and eggs on the table. She had asked that same question in that same sympathetic voice every morning since I’d told her Kurt and I had broken up.
Although, that wasn’t really the truth, was it? We’d never been official, so there was nothing to break apart. He’d just stopped calling. When I’d gone to his house a few days after we’d had sex, he’d told me, in no uncertain terms, that he wasn’t interested in seeing me anymore. I’d come home and cried with Mom’s arms around me. She’d promised me I’d get through it, that I’d be okay after a while. I wondered now how she’d react to this. I could only imagine that she’d be angry. I’d let her down so much.
I blinked, coming out of my thoughts. “Oh, sorry, Mom. I was thinking. I’m okay.”
She smiled gently at me. It at least wasn’t very unusual for me to be lost in thought. I tended to get lost thinking about books I’d read or plots I’d come up with. “I hope you’re hungry.”
I smiled weakly. “I am, actually. That sounds really good.” My appetite from earlier was back full-force. Eating for two. The thought made me want to hurl again.
Nathan and Theresa came barreling in, chattering excitedly.
“Can we go to the park today, Daddy?”
“I wanna go to the arcade! Can we go to the arcade?”
“You won’t believe the dream I had last night!”
Their rapid-fire talking helped to distract me. I focused on them instead of the turmoil in my own head. They kept their talking up through breakfast – they usual did. They were probably the only reason I made it through.
Finally, I was able to retreat to my room where I dropped down on the sofa. When we’d redecorated my room, Mom had picked it up, saying it just matched my bedspread so well, she couldn’t pass it up. Funny the things that run through your mind when you’re trying to avoid thinking about something.
Inevitably, my thoughts circled back to the problem at hand. I was pregnant. Not the scare that Loralee had told me she’d had last summer. Unless it was a false positive, I was pregnant. With child. Enceinte. However you said it, that’s what I was.
I needed to talk to Mom, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t face her. I couldn’t even imagine the conversation in my head. Kurt – I had to tell Kurt. He might think differently now that he knew I was carrying his child. Maybe he’d support me, help me tell Mom.
I latched onto the idea with vigor. Kurt was older, nearly nineteen. He’d know better what to do than I would. Filled with determination, I left my room. “Hey, Mom,” I called into the kitchen where she was cleaning up, “I’m gonna go out for a while. Maybe to the library.”
She smiled. “Good! I hope you have a nice time.” I hadn’t been to the library since I’d stopped seeing Kurt.
Praying to the Watcher for I don’t even know what anymore, I walked out of the house.