Dark Places

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Chapter 19

Ten minutes later, Elaine was feeling cold being outside for so long but she finally got her strength back enough to be able to let herself into her house. It was the eve before Christmas Eve and she had invited Steve over to stay with her tomorrow when they had both finished work. She wanted to spend time with him before they went to his parents and met more of his family for Christmas Day. She could not think about Christmas Eve yet, never mind the actual Christmas Day. She could not even think that straight now to be honest, not with what had just happened to her.

It was late evening but Elaine really needed to confide in her friend Charlotte again and she would understand the nature for her call. Elaine rang her and Charlotte did not mind as she had already sensed from Elaine’s voice that something was on her mind.

Elaine had not taken her coat off yet but was going to do so when she had dealt with the mess on her step. It was late but better to clean up now than having to deal with it in the morning she thought. She was just finishing when Charlotte appeared and immediately looked confused as to why Elaine was outside on such a cold evening, with a bucket of water in her hand.

Elaine greeted Charlotte with the best smile that she could muster up. “Hi Charlotte and do not ask”.

Charlotte was a bit confused so remained quiet whilst she followed her friend into the lounge. She was not sure what was going on but she would find out soon enough she guessed.

“I am sorry Charlotte that I called you over so late but I really need to talk you as always”.

“Oh, darling, that is all right. If I can offer support or help you always know you can turn to me when you need it”.

“There is a reason I was cleaning the step when you came to the door. When you dropped me off not long ago I got my key from my bag and started to feel a bit strange. I thought being in the fresh air would make me feel better so I held on to the wall, while the feeling passed but I was physically sick, which is why you caught me washing my step”.

Charlotte was naturally concerned. “It could not be food poisoning because we only had tea and cake so do you know what caused it?”

Did Elaine know what caused it? She had a fair idea but was not hundred percent positive.

“I thought that myself. Oh, Charlotte. I have this feeling that something is happening to me”. Elaine was not doing very well telling Charlotte what she suspected.

“What is it honey?” Charlotte was a little tired to put two and two together and come up with the correct answer.

“I never thought this could happen to me again at my age but for a few weeks I have been late with my period and I have had some spotting, cramps and my breasts have changed and when I threw up outside my brain immediately told me that these were the symptoms I had experienced a long time ago”.

The penny finally dropped for Charlotte “Are you telling me you are pregnant?”

“I have not done a pregnancy test yet to confirm it but from the symptoms I have been experiencing then yes I could well be pregnant”.

Charlotte could not hide the shock from her face before saying “I am not shocked that you are pregnant. I just did not see it coming. I know you are seeing Steve after work but could you delay him a while and we will go to the pharmacy and get a pregnancy testing kit just to be sure”.

“Thank you Charlotte. I can always depend on you”. Elaine gave her best friend a cuddle.

“I think you should go to bed now. I know you will have too much on your mind to sleep but you need to get some rest and then we will know for sure tomorrow afternoon. You are to give me a call or drop me a text message when you are ready for me and we will go and do the test”.

“Thank you Charlotte, as always and good night for now. See you tomorrow”, Elaine walked to the door with Charlotte and said “thank you again my friend…tomorrow” and gave her a wink.

When she had closed and locked the door. Elaine went for a shower before bed. She got undressed and noticed that her stomach was different and she put her hands there and could feel that there was definitely something different. If it was not a false alarm, which she was almost sure it would not be she was caressing the joys that lay ahead for her.

Elaine was soon ready for bed and climbed into it. Charlotte was right that her friend would have a lot on her mind but at the same time she also knew that she would fall asleep immediately as she was shattered.

The next day as usual Elaine, woke, went to work for her half day and had texted Charlotte to arrange the little trip they had to do. Elaine was now in the bathroom with Charlotte. They had the pregnancy test kit ready so Elaine had to do her bit and then they would know.

“I will let you do what you have to in private, then let me know when you are done. I will be just outside the door”.

Elaine was nervous as she got a drop of urine onto the chemical strip and called Charlotte back in so that they could do the one to two minute wait for the result.

“What are you thinking, Elaine?” asked Charlotte.

The first thought in her mind was that she was standing in front of Charlotte with no pants on and was a little embarrassed that her friend was probably seeing a little too much of Elaine. Despite all the years they had spent, as being friends Elaine and Charlotte had never been naked in front of each other and this was not a good time for the first occurrence.

“My first thought is that I am standing here with no pants on in front of my best friend doing a pregnancy test”, to this Charlotte simply giggled.

The wait was over and Charlotte excitedly said “well?”

Elaine showed her the display on the kit before Charlotte hugged her friend and said “congratulations”. The display was telling Elaine that she was pregnant but she knew she would need to have this confirmed with a doctor but she was not sure about how to go about that with Christmas so close.

“Do not worry about that. If you get dressed I will turn the computer on and see what I can find that we can do”.

Elaine joined Charlotte at the computer and saw what information her friend had found.

“Right we can go to the Outpatients Department of Priory Medical Park in Wells, who are open bank holidays and can do a proper pregnancy test. I will give them a call and see what we can do”.

Elaine sat waiting nervously for the answer that Charlotte would receive and was soon put out of her misery.

“Okay, they are just under half an hour drive away and I have booked an appointment for two so that we can call Steve, have some lunch and then I will drive you there. I know this is a silly thing to say as always but do not worry”.

Elaine picked up the telephone to call Steve. He answered within a few rings and agreed that it would be fine with him to see her a bit later. He so wanted to see her as he missed her but he was prepared to wait and was happy to wait until he received her text.

“Right Steve is fine with that. As you heard I just said that I had an unexpected appointment that I needed to make but obviously I do not want to confide in him just yet.

The two friends grabbed some lunch and then set off for Wells. They got to the Priory and Charlotte said, “I know you are nervous but as always I am here”, with this Elaine smiled and they got out of the car and walked to reception, gave their name and waited.

Elaine was finally called in to see the nurse and after another urine test, the nurse confirmed what Elaine suspected that she was pregnant and it was early stages and only a month in but Elaine knew what that meant, she had conceived in Bath.

“Right Mrs Fear you can leave now and re-join your friend and then when you are ready please can you make an appointment with your doctor for the next steps?” Elaine thanked the nurse and walked out of the door”.

“Hi honey”, smiled Charlotte greeting her friend, who naturally was curious about Elaine’s result.

“I know you want to know what was said so let us go to the toilets for a bit of privacy”, replied Elaine before Charlotte did as instructed.

Charlotte could not wait any longer “well?”

“I cannot beat around the bush, what we were told by the pregnancy test is true. I am pregnant. I know I have to tell Steve but it is very early days in the pregnancy so for the time being you two will be the only ones who know about this”.

“I can understand that. What do you think Steve will say when he hears the news?”

“I know it will be a shock to him but we are engaged and sometime whilst we were in Bath I conceived so I will have to let him decide that one”.

Charlotte knew her friend was right and suggested that whilst they had time they should drop by Wells for a tea and relax before heading home.

Before leaving the toilets Charlotte asked Elaine “Can I?” and when Elaine had said yes, Charlotte put her hand to Elaine’s stomach and said “Aunty Charlotte will help look after you”, to which Elaine smiled, this is why she loved her friend so much.

Elaine and Charlotte chose Pickwicks café in Market Street in Wells. They had never been there before but they liked what they saw as the walls were adorned with works by local talented artists and there was a good vibe and they soon discovered that they did the best tea and cake.

After a mouthful of cake Elaine joked, “I will have to stop this cake habit or I will become fat”, the only reply Charlotte could make was to laugh.

Elaine relaxed for a while and when they were ready to leave she said to Charlotte she was going to give Steve a call so they could meet as planned. Elaine went over to near the door and spoke to Steve and arranged the time they would be back before returning back to where Charlotte was sitting.

“You ready to pay and go?” asked Charlotte, to which Elaine answered yes.

Elaine got in the car and was nervous and quiet on the journey back home trying to work out how she was going to tell Steve her news. Charlotte picked up on the vibes and commented, “you will be fine”.

Charlotte just pulled up outside Elaine house when they spotted Steve walking up the road with a bunch of flowers. Charlotte and Elaine waited until Steve was nearer before saying their goodbyes.

“Hello gorgeous”, Steve was complimented by the greeting that he was met with by Elaine and was extremely flattered.

“Thank you so much my darling. I cannot wait to bring in Christmas with my true love”.

Elaine put the kettle on and made teas and decided that she was going to tell Steve her news when she sat back down.

Elaine delivered the teas and sat down by Steve before he took her in his arms and kissed her passionately and with much affection. “I have missed you so much and have been looking forward to spending time with my precious lady all day and that kiss was much needed”.

Elaine giggled because Steve made her feel like a child again but soon prepared herself and said “Steve I need to talk to you”.

Steve was stroking her hair and whispered “Okay I am listening”, this was not the way she had planned to tell him her news but they were comfortable and Steve was listening to her.

“I do not know how to say this to you or how you will react but I have to say it anyway”. Elaine took a breath and then said, “Steve, you have given me the gifts of love, our pending marriage and I am afraid you have given me an either bigger gift. I am pregnant”.

Steve was quiet for quite a while whilst he took in the news that Elaine had just told him. In the silence Elaine was thinking that following her news everything was ruined.

Eventually Steve got his breath back before speaking. “I am sorry for the silence but I needed to take in what you just said and I am not sure I heard you right, did you say you were pregnant?”

Elaine was convinced that Steve was stressing over the announcement she had made and that he was not prepared to take it in.

Steve leant in and gave Elaine a cuddle before whispering, “my angel, my precious angel you have made a happy man; much happier than I could ever believe. I know we are both middle forties and I certainly did not think I would be fathering a child again and I guess you never thought you would be a mother again either but hey it has happened and I am even more proud of having you by my side”.

“How many months pregnant are you?” asked Steve.

“I do not want you telling anyone as it is in its’ very early stage. Charlotte knows because she went to the pregnancy clinic and then doctors with me this afternoon but as I say I want this our secret for now as I am one month”.

The penny dropped for Steve and he realised that Bath would hold many happy memories, not just for the market, the fun they had and the proposal but that night they had conceived a baby and he felt like he was going to burst with happiness.

“I understand your caution and we will not say a thing tomorrow. I know people will wonder why you are not going to drink but we will let them think”.

“Thank you Steve” replied Elaine to which he replied “no thank you”, before sharing another cuddle.

Christmas was going to be even more magical for Elaine and Steve and there was plenty more magic to come in the new coming year.

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