I jump up to help her. The sun is shining in our room. Everything feels shiny and fresh. Like my eyes have finally been opened and the world is exciting and new. I wasn’t surprised when I saw those two lines. I’ve suspected she’s pregnant for a while. Throwing up every time she had a drink was unusual. Then her exhaustion and lack of period seemed so obvious. Every day I waited for her to mention it. Or take a test. But she was adamant that she had the stomach flu and food poisoning, so I didn’t want to push her knowing she needed time to ease into things. Especially this. From day one, Tess has insisted that she’s terrified of being a mom. By my calculations, she’s about two and half months already. I should be scared or upset. All I can feel is joy. This is everything I have always wanted with her. I have to fight myself not to go to my closet for the ring. She’d kill me if I proposed with all this going on.
Opening the bathroom, I find her clutching the porcelain sink, her knuckles white from holding on so tight. She’s staring at herself almost trancelike as she brushes her teeth. She doesn’t even react to me.
Frowning, I walk up behind her. “You okay? Do you feel any better?”
She whirls around “Feel better? No, Reed, I feel like fucking death. As a matter of fact, I’m sure I am dying. No one can throw up this much and survive.”
I back up only because I don’t want her to see my lips twitching at her dramatics.
“Again, this is all part of it. We will get through it. How about I make you some eggs?” She looks at me and I instantly move aside and help her, holding her hair back as she gags into the toilet.
“Oh, Kitten, if I could trade places with you, I would.” Scooping her up, I carry her to our bed. One of our phones is ringing, but I ignore it as I tuck her in, caressing her hair.
“I love you.”
She turns and looks at me, her eyes shiny with unshed tears. My heart starts to beat faster. The feeling of doom takes ahold of me and twists and turns all over my heart. Suddenly our room isn’t so bright.
“What?” My voice sounds unintentionally harsh.
“I can’t do this.” Four little words that make my heart start to bleed.
“You’re doing it. And you will be fine.” Looking away, I don’t want to see her tortured eyes. The sapphire sparkle is gone. My eyes focus on the clothes in the hamper. Tess usually keeps everything neat for the maids. Since she’s been sick, the room could use some help.
“You’re delusional!” Her raspy voice forces my eyes back to hers. “Listen to me. I cannot have this baby!” She sounds pathetic.
Suddenly I have no patience for her shit. She’s pregnant, not dying.
“What the fuck, Tess?” I must get away from her, or I’ll say something I shouldn’t. I hear her soft sobs and hiccups.
“I’m sorry, Reed. Please understand. I… just… can’t.”
“What are you saying? You want an abortion?” I spit it out, needing her to deny it.
I stop. Surely I didn’t hear her right. “What?”
She cringes, and I take a breath. But it’s too late. The time for breathing is over. “You’re not that fucking pathetic and weak! Or that insane to want to abort it!”
Jesus is she that fucked up? Have I been loving someone who is not real? A made-up version of a little boy’s idea of perfection?
“Reed.” She sits up, her arms reaching for me. “Don’t look at me like that.”
I shake my head, trying to get some semblance of rational thinking. My temper has always been my weakest of faults. I can go from calm to seeing red in a moment. But never with Tess.
She launches herself at me. She’s crying and I catch her. For one moment I hold her and breathe her in. That wonderful Tess smell circles me like smoke coming out of a campfire. I let my mind pretend that she is not trying to kill my child. That she is crying tears of joy like me. She reaches for my face, her hands ice cold on my cheeks.
Shaking her head, she says, “I told you I don’t want children. I only want you.”
Her eyes are so hopeful. I start to question myself.
“I’m not fit to be a mother. I’ve been drinking and let’s not forget my Valium.”
I grab her wrists tightly. “You. Are. Fine. But if you do this, we won’t be.”
She pulls away and walks slowly to the window, crossing her arms, almost as if she’s protecting her belly. “Reed, it isn’t even a person yet.”
It’s as though she just stabbed me. I can’t stand her right now. I back away from her. My ears are burning. I’m losing this battle of controlling my emotions.