Nicole woke up with a start and groaned when she saw that it was only 4:30 a.m. She was covered in a cold sweat and her whole body was shaking. She couldn’t recall if she had been dreaming, but whatever it was, it was unsettling. She had had a similar feeling yesterday after she had left Anna’s place. Anna had told her that she had miscarried and after that Nicole had felt incredibly uneasy.
Just as her stomach gurgled her uneasiness suddenly began to make sense. She jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom just in time. She kneeled on the floor as her body rejected the dinner she had eaten the night before with Hudson, Beth, Alex and Ryan. She gripped the sides of the toilet as she retched and her body convulsed. She puked until she was just throwing up bile and dry heaving. The tears were streaming down her face and she fell onto the floor and leaned against the wall, her body was spent. Vomiting, in her opinion, was one of the worst feelings in the world, well, right after lying in bed with your husband as he dies peacefully in his sleep.
“It’s impossible,” Nicole whispered to herself as she pulled a towel off the hook and wiped her mouth with it, “The doctor even said it was very unlikely without medical help...”
She got on her hands and knees and slowly crawled over to the bathroom cupboard and yanked open the doors. She peered inside but it was so cluttered that she couldn’t see what was in there. She began yanking stuff out impatiently until she found what she was looking for. She stared at the box for a moment before she pulled the last package out of the box and forced herself to stand up. Her body was shaking and she was sweating and she was terrified to confirm what was so clearly obvious to her. Nicole knew it, deep down inside of herself, that Chad had left her one last parting gift.
Nicole sat down on the toilet, ripped the package open and pulled the stick out. She closed her eyes as she went to the bathroom, her heart pounding in her chest and mixed feelings flowing through her at the speed of light. After she was done, she couldn’t bring herself to look at it, she wasn’t ready to do this without Chad.
After a couple minutes, Nicole took a deep breath, pulled the stick out and looked down at it. One single tear fell down her cheek as she saw the plus sign staring back at her.
Nicole closed the front door behind her and dropped her keys in the bowl on the table by the door. For the last 5 hours she had been moving around in a daze, not really paying attention to what she was doing, but getting things done nonetheless. She had managed to clean two out of three bathrooms, the kitchen, her bedroom, get Hudson ready to go over to grandma and grandpa’s and drop him off, all before 9:45 a.m. Now she was in the kitchen making a pot of tea and eating a granola bar while she waited for Dr. Mason to show up.
She was still in shock about the positive result when she took the test. She had mentally done the math in her head that morning and she knew that she had to be approximately 9 weeks pregnant, but there was no way to know for sure until she went to her doctor.
Nicole sat down on a bar stool in the kitchen and stared into space. The sun was shining in through the big kitchen windows, but inside it still felt gloomy and lonely. It was Saturday and she should have been getting ready to take her little boy to the park, but instead she was alone while her child was with her parents and she was unsure of what her future held for her.
Nicole jumped with a start when the doorbell rang. She made her way to the front door and opened it to see Dr. Mason standing there with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. The bright colors of the flowers instantly brightened her morning and the scent instantly filled the hallway. It smelled of spring and fruit.
“Hi Dr. Mason, come on in,” Nicole said with a small smile, “I really appreciate you coming to see me.”
“It’s the least I could do,” Dr. Mason replied as she handed the flowers to Nicole, “Again, I’m so sorry for your loss. No one was expecting this blow.”
“Thank you,” Nicole replied as she took Dr. Mason’s coat and then led her into the living room, “Can I get you anything to drink?”
“I’m good for now, thank you,” Dr. Mason said as she sat down in the chair by the window, “Now, let’s get down to business. I’m sure this is really difficult for you.”
Nicole placed the vase with the flowers in it on the coffee table in the middle of the living room and sat down on the couch across from Dr. Mason. How was she going to respond to that, of course it was really difficult for her, her heart hurt, she was lonely and she was confused with the turn of events.
“I definitely didn’t expect this to happen,” Nicole breathed as she felt the emotions building up inside her again, “Losing your spouse is definitely one of the most difficult things that could happen to someone and there is nothing you can do to prepare yourself for it.”
“Were you able to see him or talk to him?” Dr. Mason asked her, “Tell me what you experienced and what you are experiencing now, let me help you work through these emotions and feelings. But take your time, you don’t have to rush through this. We can meet more than once if we have to.”
“So much happened in 12 hours Dr. Mason and so much has happened since Chad passed away as well,” Nicole began as she looked down at her hands, primarily focusing on her beautiful wedding ring set, “Chad passed peacefully and everything happened that should have happened. He asked me for forgiveness and I gave it to him. He told me he loved me and that if the situation were different he wanted another chance to prove that Hudson and I were who he wanted to spend his life with. He told me that it was tough being in a relationship with Anna. He was excited about the new baby, but he didn’t see it lasting with her...”
“Did you forgive him because he asked you to or because you wanted to?” Dr. Mason asked, “I’m not insinuating anything, but usually in situations like this, people forgive because it is the only way to make things right, even though they aren’t ready to forgive, so I am just curious.”
“It wasn’t hard for me to forgive him,” Nicole replied with a small smile, “When he was laying there in his last moments he was exactly the way I remembered him being when we were happy. He was loving and despite his situation he was putting me first and making sure I was ok. He never focused on himself. All of his actions when we were alone in that room together made me fall in love with him all over again.”
“Did he ask you to relay any messages to anyone?” Dr. Mason questioned, “And by anyone, I mean Anna.”
“No,” Nicole replied quickly, feeling happy inside, “He made it very clear that I was the only one that mattered. Me and Hudson. He made sure that I told Hudson that daddy loved him very much, which I did, but I think Hudson is still a little too young to understand.”
“So how are you feeling and what are your overall thoughts about the entire situation, the affair and the betrayal?” Dr. Mason asked.
“I’m hurt and I realize that he didn’t intentionally set out to hurt me,” Nicole stated, “Part of me feels like Anna did kind of set out to hurt our family. She even said that she had the mentality of “I get what I want when I want it” and in the process she didn’t really care who got hurt. But in the end, despite the overall result, I chose to forgive her as well and I told her that no matter what, I would help her take care of her baby.”
“You are a much stronger woman than you give yourself credit for Nicole,” Dr. Mason said with a smile, “I am proud of you for stepping up and doing the right thing even thought it might be one of the toughest things for you to do. That’s not an easy thing. So now, what has happened since you left the hospital?”
“Well, for the last two days I have shut everyone out of my life,” Nicole replied honestly, “But yesterday I realized that even though this is hard for me and I am hurting, there are people that need me as well. So yesterday morning I went over to Anna’s to see her. She was heartbroken and I found out that because of the all the stress caused by the accident and losing Chad, she lost the baby.”
“Oh no,” Dr. Mason replied with a gasp, “That’s horrible. How did you feel about this? Be honest.”
“I was sad for Anna,” Nicole replied, “But I also felt relief. I was no longer tied to her, which made me feel horrible. I shouldn’t have felt that way.”
“Nicole, please remember, that no matter what happened, you are not a bad person,” Dr. Mason replied, “You did the right thing by offering to be there for them and, I suspect that you have been in Anna’s life for quite some time and her sister is your best friend, so it would have been hard for you to just abandon her during such a difficult and complicated time. You are bound to feel some relief as this situation was never supposed to be part of your plan. You didn’t plan for your husband to have an affair or start a new family with someone else. You have all the right to feel a little bit relieved or happy even.”
Nicole felt better once Dr. Mason said those words, but part of her still felt bad for the outcome. She felt that once her news got out that things were going to get a little bit rocky before they got better. Nicole looked down at her stomach for a moment and she felt a little pang of sadness. Oh how she wished that Chad was here to share this moment with her.
“Nicole, is everything ok?” Dr. Mason asked after a moment, “You zoned out for a moment there.”
“There is one thing I haven’t told you Dr. Mason,” Nicole said quietly as she looked up at her, “It’s the main reason that I feel bad for Anna and the miscarriage.”
“Why do you feel bad Nicole?” Dr. Mason asked curiously.
Nicole gripped the pregnancy test that she had discreetly pulled out of her pocket and held on to it tightly. In that moment she knew without a doubt in her mind that Chad would have been so happy to hear they were having another baby. Before Anna, Chad had adored Hudson so much and besides her, Hudson had been Chad’s life. Chad had been a great father, he loved his son more than anything, and that was what she wanted Hudson to know as he grew up.
“I’m pregnant,” Nicole replied with a small smile, “I found out this morning. I haven’t gone to the doctor yet, but I think I’m about nine weeks at this point.”
Nicole looked up at Dr. Mason and she was beaming. Nicole’s stomach did little flips and she couldn’t tell if it was from happiness or from morning sickness, but either way, after she told Dr. Mason she felt excited for what her future held.
“Nicole that is wonderful news!” Dr. Mason exclaimed, clapping her hands together, “Was it that one time that you told me about when we first started meeting?”
“Yeah,” Nicole replied happily, “I haven’t been with anyone else since that night.”
“Not even Ryan?” Dr. Mason asked curiously with a wiggle of her eyebrows.
“Not even Ryan,” Nicole replied with a giggle, “The thought may have crossed my mind a couple times over the last few months, but we never acted on our impulses. There may have been a few kisses exchanged, but with everything that was going on, it would have just complicated things even more.”
“What are your feelings towards Ryan?” Dr. Mason asked cautiously.
Nicole looked down at her hands, not wanting to verbally express her feelings for Ryan. She knew how she felt and those feelings would never die out, but she felt guilty for feeling that way since Chad had just passed away. She thought about her last moments with Chad and about the pregnancy and wondered if those things would have saved their marriage. Or was their marriage already past the point of repair at that point and no amount of “I love you’s” and an accidental pregnancy would have fixed it.
“It doesn’t matter how I feel right now,” Nicole replied, “I have to focus on saying goodbye to my husband. What kind of wife would I be if I started seeing someone right after I buried him? That’s horrible.”
“I’m not saying you have to start a romantic relationship with Ryan right now,” Dr. Mason replied, “But again, there is nothing wrong with how you feel. And Ryan has been there for you through this who situation and you should let him know that you appreciate him. So again, how do you feel about Ryan?”
“I’m in love with him...”