If love were by design, p.33

If Love Were By Design, page 33


If Love Were By Design

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  “Do you want to go to Flex Gym and swim? I’ll be leaving in fifteen minutes if you feel up to it.” He offered.

  “Sure.” She said and got out of bed slowly. “I haven’t swam laps in a long time—sounds fun.”

  It ended up being a mistake to go with William. She was feeling sick to her stomach all over again before they even made it out of the building. However, she wasn’t vomiting so she went to work, but she had to sip water nearly all day to keep from getting sick. She hid in her office to keep from spreading her germs, but no one came in, and for the most part she was left alone. By the time she got off at six, she went home and went straight to bed.

  “Babe, I’ve been thinking you should go to the doctor.” William suggested that night. “You’re nauseous like clockwork, like you said. It’s starting to make me think you’re . . .”

  “No. I’m fine. I’m just tired.” Veronica interrupted him. He took a deep breath not wanting to argue, and she was glad he didn’t. He left the room and let her sleep.

  The entire week she was nauseous but it slowly decreased until she only felt ill if she ate—so she didn’t. William was quiet all weekend. He had been since Wednesday, and Veronica knew why. She kept refusing to go to the doctor; he didn’t want to argue and he was quietly protesting. She let him, and said nothing. Even as they ate stir–fry at the table Saturday night, he was quiet. She put down her fork. “This is too salty. Seriously! I can’t eat this. It’s making me sick.” She complained and pushed her plate away.

  “Okay.” He said with a nod.

  “I’ll have cereal again.” She said and got up from the table.

  “Veronica.” He asserted, “You need to go to the doctor.”

  “Alright.” She consented, but only to end the conversation. She got up from the table and went to the bathroom.

  “Are you sick?” He called after her.

  “No, Honey. As your nieces would say, ‘I have to tinkle!’” She said, slightly annoyed. As she sat she saw her box of feminine hygiene products from inside the open built–in cabinet. Her smile fell. It was the third week in February. She started to panic. Her heart raced and she started to sweat. She could hardly wash her hands as she tried to remember her last period. It was January, probably the fifth or seventh. She didn’t know for sure. But there was only one way to know, she would have to get a pregnancy test.

  Veronica took a deep breath and tried to act normal. She went into the kitchen and avoided looking at him as he ate. Somehow, she had to leave to go get a test without telling him. She wasn’t ready to tell him. It would be pointless to if it wasn’t true anyway. With shaking hands she opened the fridge to get out the milk, but when she was about to open the container, an idea came to her. She quickly poured the milk down the sink and tossed the container in the trash. “We’re out of milk.” Veronica said remarkably calm.

  “I could go get you some.” He said turning around in his chair.

  “Don’t be silly. It’s a mile away. I’ll be back in ten minutes.” She said.

  “I’ll do the dishes, then.” He said.

  “No, I got it.” She said and grabbed her keys. “I’ll be right back. Do you want anything?”

  “Um,” he thought, “nothing I can think of. Except a kiss, maybe.” She went to him and kissed his lips. She smiled and kissed him again.

  “You’re shaking a bit. Are you still not feeling well?” He asked.

  “I’m fine.” She said. She kissed him one last time before saying again that she would be right back.

  Veronica cursed at the traffic as she slowly inched through the streets of New York. She was in a panic to get to the closest gas station, which was less than five blocks from her condo. She bought a pregnancy test and a gallon of milk. She couldn’t wait until she got home. It wouldn’t be a good idea to take it at home, anyway. The box was torn open before she reached the gas station bathroom. The moment she was behind the locked door, she took the test.

  The two minutes seemed to tick by like years. She paced the floor nervously, and tried to decide what she wanted the test to say. The answer didn’t readily come to her. There were pros and cons to everything.

  Having a baby meant she would have to cut down on her work, and possibly do nothing but sketch. She was starting to get the hang of it, too. She didn’t want to quit. She loved making shoes, but she could always work from home until the morning sickness wore off. Then she could work part time, possibly even after having a baby. There were ways around having a child. It was doable! It could be the greatest thing that ever happened to her. She’s heard lots of stories of women who opposed getting pregnant and once they did they raved about how it had changed their lives for the better in ways they didn’t know possible. Life had a way of throwing unexpected surprises, and maybe fate was telling her to let go of her plans and make new ones. “Please say yes!” She begged and checked it. Nothing came up yet. The little digital clock was still blinking.

  On the other hand it was soon; even William wouldn’t like being pregnant five months into their relationship. She distinctly remembered him saying more than once he wanted to wait until after they were married. And if she were pregnant, how would she ever tell him? True they both knew what they’d been doing having unprotected sex for nearly three months now, but it wasn’t planned. It was always a heat of the moment decision.

  Veronica had to muster the strength to look at the test again. The fear of telling William was more than enough to wish she wasn’t pregnant. She walked to the sink with her eyes closed. She counted to three, slowly, and told herself everything would be okay. “One. He loves me and it will be okay. Two. I want a baby, but now isn’t my only chance. Three. If I’m pregnant it will be the best thing that ever happened to me. Just be happy even if it says no, Veronica. Be strong!” At that she opened her eyes, and instantly started to tear up. A moment later she was crying. One word read in the screen of the test—pregnant. Veronica put her hands up to her face and bawled. “Thank you!” She prayed, but not solely for the baby. She truly wanted it. Never in a million years did she think she would be ready to have a whirlwind romance and surprise child. But like William surprising her with a dream of shoes, she was surprised to learn how much she wanted a family. She had never been happier and it was because she was pregnant by a man she loved madly.

  There was a knock on the door. “Almost done!” Veronica called out. After wiping the tears from her face she gathered her things and put them into her purse. When she opened the door she saw a little old lady waiting. “I’m pregnant.” She told her happily and then giggled. She walked away as the old woman grumbled. She felt like calling Kimmy, and everyone she knew, but she couldn’t. She had to tell William first.

  Her smile fell. It gave her butterflies thinking about how she would tell him. It made her so nervous she wondered if she should wait to form a plan. Maybe “accidentally” leave a test out on the counter, or write a note so she wouldn’t have to say the words. She wanted him to want this as much as her, and anything less would hurt.

  Her emotions were on high and she felt she had to tell someone or she would explode. She picked up her phone and dialed. “Mom?” Veronica asked as she locked herself in her car. She grinned.

  “Veronica?” Her Mother asked.

  “Yeah, it’s me. Is Dad there?” Veronica asked.

  “He’s watching television in his lounge chair. Did you want to talk to him?” Her Mother asked.

  “I want to talk to both of you.” Veronica explained.

  “Oh, okay.” Her Mother put the phone on speaker. “Dear. It’s Veronica.” She added, “Are you inviting us to another party because that was a bit much for us. We might have to sit the next one out, if it’s all the same to you.”

  “No, I’m not calling about that. Dad, are you there?” Veronica asked.

  “Here.” Her Father said.

  “I’m . . . I’m pregnant.” She exclaimed. She smiled, silently giggling. There was a deafening silence on the phone. S
he took a breath and her smile fell. She was hoping that they would cheer or something, but they didn’t. They were quiet and for too long. “Did you hear me?”

  “Yes.” Her Mother said quickly.

  “But you’re not married.” Her Father said. There was grave disappointment in his voice; it made Veronica cry.

  “No.” Veronica admitted quietly.

  “You’re not married, and you’re twenty–four.” Her Mother said. “And you recently got a great job. What are you doing?”

  “I thought you would be happy.” She said weakly.

  “Oh, we are!” Her Mother lied. “But we thought everything was going so well. It’s a bit of a shock. But we’re happy if you’re happy. Are you happy about this?”

  “I hardly know.” She confessed. She was happy until she told them. “I,” she paused. Instead of trying to explain any further she added, “I haven’t told him yet. I’ll call you after I have.”

  “Oh, Veronica, I’m sure it will be okay. Don’t worry about what he’s going to say.” Her Father said. “And if he’s not okay with it, we’re always here for you. You don’t have to keep it.”

  “Yes, I’m sure we could help you pay for an abortion.” Her Mother said.

  Veronica silently cried even harder. They couldn’t have spoken more damaging words. The thought of killing her baby was the furthest thing from her mind. There was no way she could do that. Yet, she thanked them and then added, “Well, I’ll talk to you soon.” They all said their goodbyes then hung up.

  It was bitterly disappointing to hear their negativity. It wasn’t at all what she expected to hear, which only made it worse. And the fact that she was so happy about the baby, and they weren’t, tore her to pieces. But then they never enjoyed parenting.

  She put her hands on her stomach and cried. It took her a few minutes to make a decision, but if nobody else was going to be happy about this, at least she would be. No one’s reaction would ruin her joy. Although she prayed that William would take it better than her parents did, and hoped the first words out of his mouth weren’t, “But we’re not married.” She didn’t know how she would react to his disappointment. It would be hard to take.

  His opinion mattered much more than her because she never felt particularly close to her parents. She wished she hadn’t called them. Now she was even more paranoid about telling William. She couldn’t! If she stopped complaining about being sick, he would think her flu–like symptoms were exactly that, the flu and she had gotten over it. Then she could take a few weeks to figure out how to tell him. Maybe warm him up to idea first, before dropping such a heavy load on him all at once.


  Veronica had a stash of peppermint candies in her purse. She ate them all day while at work and at night drank peppermint tea. Not telling William about her nausea and chronic dizziness was almost easy, considering she was petrified he would find out about her pregnancy. It had been four days since she found out, and so far she had been able to hide it with relative ease. She even went to see an OBGYN for her first visit, and got a prenatal vitamin prescription without him finding out. As long as she slept in and didn’t wake up with William’s alarm, her nausea was controllable. So she slept until nine, and got up to go to work all week without rushing. It was a routine that she could stick to. Even if she did it for the remainder of her pregnancy it would be easy. In fact, she liked being pregnant. When she was alone she was always looking at her stomach, thinking it was odd something was in her that she couldn’t feel or see. She looked the same, but there was definitely a baby inside of her.

  She was feeling so well, she even agreed to a night out on the town with William, Kimmy, Travis, Nora, and Colin. They planned on dinner and a Broadway show.

  “You look nice.” William complimented her, leaning against the walk–in closet door.

  “I feel like wearing a dress.” Veronica said, but what she didn’t tell him was tight clothes, or anything that had elastic including her cotton panties upset her stomach.

  “You’re not going to be cold?” He asked.

  She put on a pair of black heels, and then kissed him. “No. I have a long coat I can bring. Besides, we’ll be inside nearly the entire time. Are you going to drink tonight? You can if you want. I’ll drive us home.”

  “I haven’t thought about it, but probably not.” He followed her into the bathroom after picking out two ties. “Which one?” He asked her while holding them up.

  “Neither.” She unbuttoned his top button exposing the t–shirt underneath. “Wear the shoes I made you, and you’ll look perfect. You look extraordinarily handsome in that dark green shirt; it brings out your green eyes.” She added, “Relax a little. You’ve been tense lately.”

  “A little. We should do a couples’ massage.” He suggested with a smile. “I’ve noticed your back’s been hurting you.”

  “Oh, that.” She cleared her throat nervously. “It’s nothing. I think I’m sitting too much at work.”

  “Should I make an appointment for this weekend for us to go together? It’ll be nice, right?” He asked, and she quickly agreed saying it would be nice.

  Veronica put on lip–gloss, found a matching purse, and then told William she was ready to go. They drove to Di Vinci’s where they were meeting with the group. Nora and Colin were waiting for them at a table. Nora stood and hugged William and then Veronica. She grinned.

  “When did you two get here?” William asked as they hugged.

  “Oh, not five minutes ago.” Nora replied and smiled. “We ordered drinks already. A pitcher of beer, but it hasn’t come yet.”

  “Colin.” William said as a hello. Veronica started to take off her coat before William quickly helped her and took it. She sat as Nora asked her how she was.

  “Good. Busy.” Veronica paused, “And you?”

  “Um, good.” Nora said with a glance in Colin’s direction. “So Kimmy and Travis are coming as well?”

  “They are. I’m surprised they’re not here already.” Veronica acknowledged.

  “So how’s the wedding planning coming along?” Nora asked.

  “Oh, my gosh.” Veronica laughed. “I forgot . . .”

  “That was something . . .” William began to say, but he stopped talking when Veronica squeezed his hand. Kimmy and Travis were walking up to the table.

  “We’re late. It’s all my fault, too!” Kimmy apologized and plopped down next to Veronica. Everyone scooted to give Travis more room.

  “She couldn’t find anything to wear.” Travis jested with a smile.

  The waiter came a moment later with a large pitcher of beer and six mugs. “Oh, no thanks.” Kimmy said, grinning. “But I think I’ll trying eating something like bread sticks maybe.”

  “Yeah, that does sound good to me as well.” Nora admitted.

  When the waiter left Travis picked up the pitcher of beer and started to pour it into everyone’s glass except Kimmy who held her hand over her mug. “So, I have the best news.” Kimmy exclaimed, clutching onto Veronica’s arm. Kimmy squealed loud enough it got everyone’s attention at the table. “I’m pregnant!” She screamed with excitement. Veronica looked at her dazed. She slowly grinned. They were pregnant, together. She wished she could tell Kimmy.

  “You’re joking!” Veronica gasped and covered her mouth with both hands. It was the best news she had heard all week. She wished she could say she was too, but bit her tongue. It was hard not to breathe a word, but with one glance at William she stiffened and her smile twitched.

  “I’m about six weeks along. I have a doctor’s appointment Monday.” She laughed, “I get to have an ultrasound and see it. Of course, I want you to come. You have to. You’re excited for me, right?”

  “Yes!” She said with emphasis. She didn’t want to be a downer like her parents. However, she couldn’t help but wish she could tell her, and it must have shown because Kimmy told Veronica she didn’t have to accompany her. “Are you kidding? I wouldn’t miss this for the worl
d. I’ve never been happier for you than I am right now.” Veronica hugged her and squeezed her tight. “This is perfect! I’m so thrilled for you,” she added, “and Travis!”

  “We’re overjoyed. He can’t wait to see the ultrasound. It’s a bit soon, but we don’t care. Oh, and I’ll still make your dress. Now that I quit my job at Poker Face Rags I have more time. I’m not bogged down.” Kimmy grinned. “So that’s why I’m not drinking tonight. But don’t let me stop you.” Kimmy told everyone.

  William congratulated Travis. Colin offered to buy him a round of beers and added, “Give him a pat on the back, he’s going to be a dad, will you, William?” He flagged the waiter, “Get this man another pitcher of beer! Congratulations, Travis. This is great news.” Colin laughed. “This is serendipitous, really.” He grinned at Nora.

  “Colin, don’t steal their thunder.” Nora reproved.

  “You’re pregnant, too?” William guessed. He laughed, “You are! That’s great! Perfect actually!”

  “We’ll go baby clothes shopping together!” Kimmy squealed and clutched Nora’s hand from across the table. “How far along are you?”

  “About five weeks. Two days shy of it.” Nora grinned.

  “This is the best news!” William said. “I couldn’t be happier for you.”

  “Thank you, William. We’re trying not to get our hopes up too high, though.” Nora began. “We don’t want a repeat of last time. But I quit my job, and the girls are in full time day care to cut down on stress. I’m taking it easy. I’ve known for two weeks now. At least I suspected when I was sleeping hot. Devin is still in a coma, but Colin says we don’t have to tell the girls for a while, and Mom and Dad are coming up to distract them. Besides, he might pull out of it. I’m trying to keep my stress down.”

  “Don’t try too hard, Sweetheart.” Colin gently reminded her. “We’ll be fine.”

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