Posts tagged “pregnancy

Lighthouse, Chapter 6

Posted on 26/04/2016

Darah despised hospitals as much as she hated Jeremy and roaches. Okay definitely more than roaches but not Jeremy. She really hoped never to cross paths with that ingrate of a man ever again.

There was nothing comforting about the sterile place that smelled like Lysol and metal. It only brought terrible memories from her childhood, memories that only ever surfaced when she heard the siren of a fire truck or ambulance. Though the circumstance with which she became an orphan was a vague memory, she never failed to tremble at the sight of firetrucks and ambulances.

Not to mention the early years of her life in the Teka family were spent in the hospital when Eleazar first came home. He’d suffered mild fetal alcoholism and emergency rooms became the children’s second home. Till this day, she and her brothers shuddered at the thought of going to a hospital.

Phoebe had to practically drag Darah through the doors of the hospital, not minding the stares directed their way.

“Relax, Darah. There’s nothing to fear,” Phoebe muttered an hour later as they sat in the doctor’s office, waiting the results of Darah’s physical.

“I told you this wasn’t necessary,” Darah mumbled, her eyes moving to the large-faced clock hanging above the door. “What’s taking her so long?”

“Maybe you’ll have to take another blood sample.”

Darah shuddered. A twinge of pain in her right arm reminded her of the ordeal she’d just faced with another aversion; needles. She drew in a breath and released it. “Better not.”

Phoebe chuckled. “You’re as bad as the boys.”

The door swung open and heels clicked the floor as the doctor stepped into the room. Dr. Felicia Halliday gave the two women a wary smile before taking her seat. Her eyes bounced between the two women before settling on Darah. “Your results are in.”

Darah squirmed under the woman’s pointed stare. “Is everything okay…?”

Dr. Halliday sighed softly and leaned forward, her hands joined in front of her on the desk. “I don’t know how to say this…”

“A-Am I dying?” Darah’s stomach twisted with unease.

Phoebe’s hand moved to her shoulder and squeezed it gently. “Is something the matter, Dr. Felicia?”

Dr. Halliday met Darah’s gaze. “When was your last menses?”

The question tripped her mind. What did her period have to do with food poisoning?

Phoebe’s hand tightened on Darah’s shoulder. “She usually has irregular periods, ever since she started. Is it related to the  food poisoning?”

“It’s not food poisoning, I’m afraid.” Dr. Halliday’s gaze shifted to Phoebe’s, and her lips tightened. “Both the blood test and urine sample showed a significant presence of a hormone called hCG.”

Darah’s gaze darted to a silent Phoebe, and trepidation tripped her pule at the horror etched on her sister-in-law’s face. She returned to Dr. Halliday. “Hc what?”

The older woman eyed her suspiciously. “Are you sexually active, Darah?”

Blood drained from Darah’s face.

Phoebe choked out an incredulous laugh. “How can a virgin be sexually active?”

Her stomach turning and pulse racing violently in her throat, Darah could only stare at the physician.

“Are you sure you didn’t mix up the results?” Phoebe asked, her hand tightening on Darah’s shoulder.

“I’m sure.” Dr. Halliday’s brow furrowed at the insinuation but pinned Darah with an expectant look. “Well, are you?”

Phoebe nudged her. “Say something, Darah…”

Dr. Halliday sighed deeply. “You’re between six to seven weeks pregnant, Darah.”

Phoebe jerked her attention back to the doctor. “A-are you certain it’s hers?”

“Hers was the only lab test I requested this morning.”

Darah closed her eyes tight, willing this to be just a dream. There was no way she could be–

Phoebe gripped her shoulder. “Get up. We need to talk now.”

That tone spoke volumes and Darah shot the physician a pleading look as Phoebe tugged on her arm.

Dr. Halliday answered with a gentle smile. “Take all the time you need. If you have any questions, you know where to find me.”

Phoebe’s firm grip practically hauled her from her seat, and Darah winced as she was dragged out of the doctor’s office and into the hallway.

“What did you do?” Phoebe’s gaze was incredulous.

At that moment, her fate was in the hands of her sister-in-law who grew more agitated than Darah had ever seen her. She winced when Phoebe’s grip tightened on her arm. “It hurts…”

Pushing out a breath, Phoebe released her arm and reached into her purse.

“W-who are you calling?” Darah grabbed at Phoebe’s phone but unfortunately, Phoebe’s height had her at a disadvantage.

“Backup.” Phoebe turned her back to Darah and put the phone to her ear. A second later, she spoke again. “Geri, where are you?”

Darah’s heartbeat skipped and she circled to Phoebe’s front. “Why are you calling her?!” she mouthed, eyes wide.

Phoebe eyed her warily and turned away. “I need you to come to the emergency clinic within ten minutes… I don’t know, make some excuse. But come immediately.”

Geraldine arrived at the entrance of the clinic a minute later than Phoebe requested. She was gasping for air, her tailored shirt untucked over her fitted slacks. She carried her heels, wearing flip-flops in her haste to make time. Her eyes were wide with alarm as she approached her sisters-in-law, gaze darting from Phoebe to Darah and back to Phoebe.

“Where’s the fire?” she asked breathlessly.

Darah snuck a glance at Phoebe who hadn’t said a word after the emergency call to Geraldine. In fact, she’d wordlessly returned to Dr. Halliday’s office alone and returned a few moments later, her expression more unreadable than before.

“Uh, hello?” Geraldine’s voice pervaded her thoughts. “Is someone gonna tell me why I had to get dressed in the car just to be here in ten minutes?”

Phoebe breathed out a sigh. “Darah’s pregnant.”

Darah flinched at Phoebe’s direct response.

“Who’s pregnant?” Geraldine asked, staring past Darah at Phoebe. “Because y’all are too old to safely have another child… and we’re done with August.”

“Darah is seven weeks pregnant,” Phoebe said monotonously.

Her eyes then swung to Darah’s. “How is that even possible?”

Darah flinched and lowered her gaze.

“What, is this immaculate conception?”

“Geri, that’s not funny.”

“Of course it’s not funny. How do you explain a virgin getting pregnant?”

“She’s not a virgin…”

Phoebe’s firm statement felt like a hot brand searing her from the inside out. She lowered her gaze although she could feel the weight of her sisters-in-law’s judgmental stares. Oh how she wished for the ground to open up and swallow her, and for the second time since their breakup, Darah rued the day she fell for a man like Jeremy. He only brought trouble for her, and this was the worst kind.

Geraldine chuckled, drawing attention to herself. “Your brothers are gonna kill you.”

Phoebe sighed heavily. “We’re not going to let that happen. Right now, we have a baby to consider.”

Darah stiffened, as though realizing the bigger implication of her irresponsible action. Apart from crippling fear of her brothers’ impending wrath, regret and horror set in. Though getting married and raising a family with Jeremy was part of the plan, Darah couldn’t have predicted this hitch—just like she didn’t expect Jeremy to be a complete jerk either. Becoming a single mother was not something she even considered could happen, but unfortunately that was who she’d become.

J.R. nudged the mouse away and leaned forward with his elbows on the desk. He rested his face in his palms and sighed heavily. There were not enough hours in a day to do what he had to do. Between his father’s clients and preparing the center, J.R. was wearing himself out too fast. Not to mention he had to play tour guide and host after work.

Bart’s cautionary words echoed in his head now, and J.R. wondered if his load would lighten if he did confess his intentions to his father. Peeking through his hands at the list of clients yet to be settled, J.R. groaned. It was unlikely his father would easily give in and reassign the cases to another associate in the firm. If anything, his father would add on more cases so he wouldn’t have time to devote to the center.

Shaking his head, J.R. cleared sleep from his eyes. He couldn’t afford to slack off and give his father reason to blame his divided focus on the center. He could do both, even if he lost sleep.

His phone dinged, alerting him of a new message. J.R. gladly accepted the diversion and leaned back in his seat, pulling up the message folder. His brow furrowed at the unread messages; all ten of them. When they came in, he had no idea, totally immersed in his work to hear them come in.

He opened the first, his frown deepening.

Bhaiyaa, this is Hana. Please save my number so we can chat more freely.

J.R. shook his head but saved the number, just in case his father asked about it later on. He couldn’t afford any disagreements with his father. Saving the number as Sister, he moved onto the next message.

Mayday, mayday! Save me.

J.R. frowned, not recognizing the number. He opened the next, from the same number.

If you don’t save me, you’ll have to come to my funeral.

He arched a brow at the hysterics, getting an odd sense he knew the author. Curiosity growing, he opened the next message.

I’ll need representation. Can you do it?

J.R. reread the messages with a quizzical smile, wishing he knew this familiar stranger. He quietly opened the next.

So you’re ignoring me now? Shouldn’t I be the one mad at you for rejecting me?

He slowly sat up, his pulse quickening. There was only one person he remembered rejecting—and that was a misunderstanding he couldn’t fix, even if he tried. But there was no way she’d contact him first, not after what happened between them… J.R. frowned, opening the latest message.

If I end up dying, just represent my brothers since it’s my fault anyway. Don’t let them go to jail.

Brothers. Hysterics. Rejection.

“Darah,” J.R. breathed, silently rejoicing that her stream of messages had finally broken the silence between them. She’d reached out to him first, for whatever reason, and he planned on answering. Or saving her, something he’d missed doing.

He hit the dial button and held the phone to his ear. She picked up on the second ring and he smiled. “What did you do now?”

“Oh good,” another familiar voice answered. “We’ll need legal representation before my husband goes berserk on your girl. Come talk sense to these blockheads before someone gets indicted.”

J.R.’s smile waned at Geraldine’s grumpy tone and he stood from his desk.

Bart’s temper when provoked was a piece of work, and he was well aware Darah knew what buttons to push.

Without hesitation, he grabbed his keys and headed for the door. “What’s going on?”

<<Chapter 5 || Chapter 7>>

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Homecoming, Chapter 18

Posted on 17/02/2016

Turned out Phoebe had a feeling she was pregnant before the dry heaving that lasted deep into the night. She confessed to a dazed Abe that she’d known of her condition weeks ago but was too nervous to mention it, just in case it didn’t work out.

Long after the two youngest had gone to sleep and Clement retreated to his room, Geraldine watched as Abe enveloped his wife in his arms and cradled her against his chest. When Abe pressed a kiss to Phoebe’s forehead, Geraldine tamped a longing sigh and looked away, gaze colliding with Bart’s.

His lips were pursed, eyes squinted in clear suspicion.

She looked down at her phone and grimaced. “Oh man. I better get going…” She stood from the chair propped near the couple’s bed.

Phoebe peeked from around Abe’s arms and gave Geraldine a weary smile. “Thank you Geri…”

“Congratulations. I’ll check on you tomorrow,” she said to the couple and stepped around Bart to the door. Hearing him tell her to wait, Geraldine hurried from the master bedroom and out of the house.

Bart caught up to her before she reached her car. She yelped when he grabbed her by the waist and pulled her into his chest. Face aflame, she nudged at his arms. “Let me go.”

“What’s your rush?” he drawled out, unaffected by her hands shoving at his chest.

“It’s midnight and I have to go to my kid. Let me go!”

The raised inflection in her tone made him release her, though his fingers parked on her hips. Under the flickering streetlamp, she could see his brow was furrowed in consternation. “Now what’s with you?”

She avoided looking at him. “Nothing. I just have to go.”

“I’m not stopping you.”

Heat coursed through her and she stepped back. “Goodnight then.” She turned on her heels to go.

“Let’s get married.”

Her footsteps stalled from rushing off and she spun around. “What?”

He didn’t blink, didn’t move. “You heard me.”

She gaped at him. “What on earth for? My in-laws already think we’re getting married, and once they’re gone, we don’t need to pretend any more.”

“This isn’t pretend for me, Geraldine. I want to marry you.”

His words felt like a sucker punch in her gut, stealing her breath.

Bart moved toward her, frowning when she took a step back. He paused. “What are you doing?”

Geraldine regained her composure. “What are you doing? This isn’t part of the plan.”

He squinted at her. “What plan?”

She gritted her teeth. “Bartimeus–whoa, stop there.” She inched backward until her back was pressed against her car. “I said stop, you stubborn oaf.”

He only smiled wickedly, coming to stand directly in front of her.

She could barely breathe at his proximity–this insufferable man. “What are you doing?”

Bart placed his hands on either side of her shoulders, resting his palms against the car windows. “Stopping you from running away again.”

“A-again?” Her pulse tripped when he lowered his head. She turned her face away. “Bart, stop this.”

“Stop what?”

She glared at his shoulder. “I have to go home.”

“And you’ll go home when I get my answer.”

“I already told you there’s no reason for us to get married, Bart.”

“That’s not what I asked.”

“You didn’t ask. You said–”

“Marry me, Geraldine.”

She squeezed her eyes shut; fighting the warm shivers that traveled down her arms. “No.”

“Stop mumbling. Look at me and give me your answer.”

Geraldine forced her eyes back to his shadowed features. It hurt to look at him. “I said no.”

Bart leaned away and dropped his hands. She didn’t need the streetlight to know what her answer did to his handsome face. “So what, I’m good enough to be your pretend husband but not enough to be the real thing? Is that it, Geraldine?”

Her chest tightened in regret. “That’s not it, Bart.”

“Isn’t it? Then why–”

“I can’t marry you.”

“You can’t or you won’t? Speak plainly because I’m tired of your games.”

She frowned. “This isn’t a game.”

“Right.” Bart snorted in disgust and took a step back. “Goodnight, Geraldine.”

“Bart–”

“You left three years ago because you weren’t sure of my feelings. I’m telling you now that I—”

“Stop!” she shouted, her voice echoing in the quiet neighborhood. A lone dog barked in protest and she dropped her head. “Please don’t.”

Bart heaved a sigh. “Fine. It’s late. Get going.”

At the sound of his footfall retreating, Geraldine looked up. “Please don’t make this more complicated than it already is, Bart. They’ll be gone in a week and we can get back to our lives.”

He paused and turned to look at her. “I hear you. Go home, Geraldine.”

When he didn’t turn away, Geraldine had no choice to leave. She didn’t want to fight with him and it seemed like he didn’t want to either. There was much to say but she couldn’t bring herself to say any of it without sounding like a crazy person. With a nod, she turned away and ducked into her car.

Bart muttered a curse under his breath as she eased the car from the driveway and drove away.

“Nice going, Big Bro,” Clement drawled from the porch.

His face darkened. “Go away.”

His brother’s footfall sounded on the steps. “You pushed too hard, y’know.”

“So you’re the love expert now?” Bart turned to Clement, more annoyed than he expected. Somehow, he’d imagined Geraldine’s pretty eyes welling up with tears and a wobbly smile on her pretty mouth before she flung her arms around him and kissed him with gratitude.

“Sometimes you need an outsider’s perspective to point out your screw-ups.”

“Remind me to do the same with you,” Bart drawled, sweeping past Clement up the stairs.

“Geri’s got a whole lot of hurt, Bart. You have to be careful.”

Bart paused in step and turned to his brother. Before their fake engagement, Geraldine had spoken jadedly of romance, but he was certain she had feelings for him.

“She obviously cares a great deal for you,” Clement continued, kicking a pebble. “No woman would allow you to kiss her like that if she didn’t.”

“What’s with the lack of privacy? We’re not some peep show,” Bart groused, only mildly annoyed.

“It’s expected. Abe and Phoebe barely got alone time before they got married. Even now, they have to ask for permission to get away for a weekend.” Clement shook his head. “Unreal.”

Bart felt a flush at the thought of marrying Geraldine. The more he thought about the idea, the more he liked it. But how could he get her to see it his way?

“Even if you’re the better choice, being forceful like her family was about marrying that jerk isn’t gonna work for your benefit or hers. You’ve gotta be firm about your feelings yet gentle in your approach.”

“Gentle in my approach?” He sought Clement’s gaze.

“Take a lesson from Abe. Remember she did have the hugest crush on him.” Clement chuckled when Bart scowled. “What I’m saying, Big brother, is you gotta learn the art of push and pull.”

“Push and what?”

Clement walked up to his brother and clamped a hand on his shoulder. “The Art of Seduction.”

Bart eyed him warily. “And you want to be a missionary?”

“Missionary, not priest. Now come on.” He nudged Bart toward the door. “Let’s get started if we’re gonna get you married.”

Geraldine sat in the car long after she arrived home from Bart’s house, trying to calm her unsteady breath. She put a hand over her heart and closed her eyes. “Stop it… stop it.”

It scared her how hard her pulse was racing because it only happened whenever Bart gave her that impish dimpled smile of his. She shook her head to clear the image of his grin and leaned forward, pressing her forehead against the steering wheel.

“You can’t or you won’t?” Bart’s question echoed in her ear.

She squeezed her hand against her racing heartbeat. “I can’t…” Even if she wanted to, she couldn’t marry Bart. It was better this way.

A tap on the passenger window made her jump in her seat. She turned and quickly rolled down the window. “Mama? What’s go–?”

“Shh.” Yelena gestured to the sleeping baby in her arms. “Open the back door.”

Dumbly, Geraldine did as her mother said and glanced over at the front door. “Where are they?”

“I don’t know and I don’t care,” Yelena muttered while strapping Joselyn in her seat. “Once I came home, I locked me and Jozy in your room.”

“What?” Geraldine gaped at her mother; she’d gone home hours ago.

Yelena slid in beside her granddaughter and closed the door. “We can’t stay in the house while they’re here. I don’t trust them to leave without trying anything funny.” She and Geraldine peered down at the child whose head lolled back and forth.

A cold chill trickled down Geraldine’s spine and she gripped the steering wheel. “They can’t take my baby. I won’t let them.”

“Good.” Yelena adjusted Joselyn’s head. “Let’s go back to the Teka house–”

“No!”

“Shh!” Yelena put a finger over her mouth and frowned at her daughter. “What? Why?”

Heat infused her cheeks and Geraldine looked at Joselyn sleeping undisturbed. “They don’t have space,” she said lamely, fumbling with her hands.

Yelena snorted. “They have a couch and Joselyn can stay with the youngest girl, Darcy…”

“Darah,” Geraldine sighed heavily. “Mama, that’s not a good idea.”

Yelena smiled. “It is. I already called Barty and he said they’ll make room.”

Her eyes widened in alarm and she gaped at her mother. “You did what? When?”

“Just now. He called to see if you’d made it home yet and when I shared my concern, he invited us to come back. They’re probably making space in the house now. Let’s go, Mija.”

<<Chapter 17 || Chapter 19>>

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