Bending The Rules

By Rebecca Burton All Rights Reserved ©

Romance

Chapter 16

When I woke in the morning Dominic was already gone there was a note next to me. He’d gone to work, and Molly was at a friend’s. I stretched out underneath the luxurious cotton sheets and smiled as I remembered the way he had made love to me. I wrapped my fingers around the pendant he had given me and withheld the urge to squeal like a giggly school girl, but only just. My phone began ringing, bringing me out of my self-indulgent daze. I scrambled off the bed, naked as the day I was born and searched the floor for my pyjama pants. Once I had them I pulled my phone out and slid across the screen to answer.

“Felicity speaking.” I said, unable to wipe the satisfied smile off my face.

“Felicity its Mom.” She sounded stressed, instantly everything changed.

“What’s wrong?”

“I don’t have a job anymore. Bob from work called, everyone is being made redundant. The company has been sold. All those years striving to be a partner and then this happens.”

She was speaking so fast I could barely comprehend her words. Her work was gone? Sold? To whom and why. CoranCorp has been contemplating helping out, why had they suddenly decided to take another path?

“Wait slow down... what happened?” I asked, searching for clarification.

“Bob from work just called. He said that they’ve sold the company to CoranCorp. Everything was signed this morning.”

Whoa. My heart sunk out of my heart and hit the floor of Dominic’s bedroom. “But... your proposal...” Dominic had bought them out. He’d opened his big business jaws and swallowed the company whole. My mom’s life work was effectively for nothing.

“The partners are getting executive roles at CoranCorp, the rest of us minions are being paid out. Effective immediately.” She continued, unaware she was stabbing the knife in my heart deeper. I was bleeding out. How could he do this? How could he pull my Mother’s life work out from beneath her feet? She’d been angling for partner ever since she had started work there. She had pulled them up from a failing company to a respectable business. If they would have made her partner the business would have sky rocketed.

“I didn’t know.” I whispered, although guilt had replaced the blood flowing through my veins. I was in love with the man who had ruined my mother’s career.

“Of course you didn’t.”

“I can’t believe he did this Mom.” My voice contorted, and I knew I sounded angry. Angry than ‘just a nanny’ should. I wanted to find him and scream at him, but I knew it wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference. I’d been scared that I’d mess us up, but he’d done that for me.

“Honey, don’t be angry at him, the business world is cut throat.” She replied with more maturity than I was feeling at that moment. It didn’t matter though. Cut throat world or not, Dominic hadn’t even warned me and I knew why. If I’d known the truth he never would have had me, heart body and soul. I needed to get out of here.

“It’s too late Mom. I’m coming home.”

I was already up and gathering my things before I ended the call. I pulled the necklace off and threw it at the bed before hightailing it back to my bedroom. I couldn’t stay here, not when he had done such a horrible cowardly thing, he hadn’t even had the guts to tell me, what else was he hiding?

I grabbed my suitcase and threw my clothes in. The picture Molly drew sat on the dresser without more than a moment’s thought I picked it up and slipped it inside one of the pockets. I couldn’t have them, but I would always have this memory.

I picked up a pen and paper of the desk and began to write. Thank god Molly was at a friend’s today, leaving her was going to be hard enough, leaving her like this might have been the only possible way I could even attempt to do it.

Dear Molly,

I’m sorry I had to leave, I didn’t want to. Sometimes things just don’t happen like we want them too. I’m here for you, no matter what. Call me anytime, day or night.

I love you.

Felicity.

I left the letter on Molly’s bed along with a picture of the two of us. I forced Harvey to give me my car keys, and gave him back the Mercedes keys. I don’t think he even realized what was happening until suddenly I was pulling my suitcase out the door. He tried to stop me, but I kept walking.

I didn’t fall apart until I was back home, in my bedroom, alone. I’d loved and lost a man. It wasn’t something I had expected would happen when I first took the job but it had, and then he had betrayed me. My mother had lost out, she was jobless, and now so was I.

“You didn’t even talk to him.” Mom questioned from my bedroom door. “He might have an explanation.”

“There is nothing to talk about.” I insisted. “Besides, we both know that job was a filler, something to help you get your dream job. One you earned, one that was torn from you.”

Mom walked over to my bed and sat down. “If there was nothing to talk about, you wouldn’t be crying Felicity.”

“I had to leave Molly.” I croaked.

“And Dominic.” She added. “Don’t think I didn’t see the way you two were looking at each other. I’ve just had to watch romance movie after romance movie while I’ve been getting better. I can spot the signals.” So she knew there had been an us. No matter how fleeting it had been.

“He did a shitty thing Mom. He did a Dad thing. I couldn’t stay.”

“You should have given him a chance to explain.”

“Mom! His company just bought your work. I was working there to better your chances at getting partner, but turns out, I was fooled... like you were.”

“Felicity.” She attempted to get through to me, but I wasn’t having it. Dominic had ruined everything.

“Mom, I just want to be alone. Please.”

Mom closed the door and buried my head in my pillow. The night before plagued my mind. The way he had looked at me as he gave me the love heart pendant. He had seemed so genuine. How could he tell me he loved me, when all the while he knew that his company was planning something so callous? I knew Mom was right in some ways, CoranCorp is a business, one that is known for opening its always hungry, seemingly vacuous jaws to swallow the company’s itching at its heels. I just hadn’t expected this, he hadn’t even warned us.

My phone rung, and through my sobs I picked it up. It was him. I let it go to voicemail.

He tried calling four more times, then sent through a text message.

It isn’t what it seems. Let me explain. Please. – Dominic.

I didn’t reply, I didn’t know what to say.

When night fell I still hadn’t left my bed, I was entangled in my blankets, warmed by them, but cold in the deep cavities of my broken heart. I looked over at my suitcase and frowned. Its presence bothered me, like I expected to leave again, like I would let him win, the way he said he always did.

I stood up and began unpacking. I pulled the picture Molly had drawn and smiled, she was with me, even though I wasn’t there. It hurt not to tuck her in, not to be there to kiss her goodnight. But most of all it hurt to be just like her mother... a runaway. I placed the picture down and dug around in the suitcase pocket. I pulled a handle of items out, a hair brush, my toiletry bag, a five dollar note... but it was the last thing that sent me in to a spin, the last thing that had me reel back in horror.

An unopened box of tampons.

I ran over to my handbag and tipped out the contents. Rummaging like a mad man I pulled the pill packet from the pile and stared at the tabs. I had been due for a period, I’d been on the sugar pills two weeks before, but nothing had happened and I hadn’t even realized. I threw the tablets back down and backed away from them like they could hurt me, like they were going to turn into some kind of baby monster and attack me.

I couldn’t be pregnant.

But of course I could be, we had sex, more than once, and I had missed a period, I’d been off my food, I’d been nauseas. It all made a pretty convincing argument when you put it all together and looked at the facts. You’re safe... no babies... not out of me. Were my own words about to bite me in the ass?

I walked out of the room and grabbed my keys and wallet off the bench. “Where are you going Felicity, its 11pm?” Mom asked as she sat on the couch watching something romantic and cliché.

“I need an antacid.” I lied.

“I have some in the bathroom cupboard.” She exclaimed.

“I need different ones Ma.” I lied. “I won’t be long.”

“Drive safe.” She pleaded with me.

“I will.”

I would be lying if I said I was one hundred percent focused on the road. Truth was, all I could think about was the mess I was in. I drove passed Dominic’s house, my heart thumped and it took all my resolve not to turn in to the driveway. I wanted to crawl back in to his arms, despite everything I still loved him.

I kept driving, all the way in to town. I walked into the 24 hour pharmacy and nervously walked down the aisle with the pregnancy tests. There were too many to choose from, it was overwhelming. I picked up a box from the shelf aimlessly and walked up to the counter with it. The woman behind the counter eyed me critically. She looked down at my left hand, searching presumably for a wedding ring. I narrowed my own eyes and opened my wallet to pay for the test. Dominic’s black Amex was still in there, I closed my eyes and pulled out a ten dollar note.

“You know, it’s 2015. You don’t need to be married to have children these days.” I said as I took the bag from the salesperson.

“I’m sorry, I’m a mother.” She replied. “A single mother.”

I tilted my head and smiled. “You must be very strong then. My mom was a single mom too and she is the strongest person I know.”

“Thank you.” She replied. Her eyes softened and she pointed to a rest room. “You can do it in there if you like?”

I looked down at the bag and gulped. I wasn’t sure I was ready to know the truth. The truth meant talking to Dominic and that wasn’t something I could do right now, I also wasn’t sure I could talk to Mom about this either. But I needed to know, whether I was ready or not. I nodded and walked over to the restroom.

I pulled the small rectangular cardboard box from the rustling plastic bag. I placed it down on the vanity and stared at it like it was a loaded gun. There was no avoiding this, I needed to know. I sat down on the toilet and picked up the box. Using my fumbling fingers I followed the instructions then placed it back down on the vanity.

I waited, and it seemed like hours were passing even though it had only been two minutes. I closed my eyes and picked it back up.

The air in my lungs clung to my throat as I let out a dry sigh. My heart raced harder than it ever had just before I opened my eyes and let them focus on the little white stick. I had prayed for a false alarm, I had prayed that maybe my body was just messed up at the moment, but my prayers went unanswered. The small electronic screen on the test read pregnant like a flashing neon sign. I through it like it was poisonous at the plastic bag. It was faulty, it had to be. Except I knew it wasn’t.

I stood up and looked at myself in the mirror. 24 hours ago things had been almost perfect, and now they were completely messed up. My hands slid down over my stomach and before I knew it I was crying.

I was pregnant, I’d run away from the only man I’d ever loved and our child lay growing inside of me. I walked backwards until my back hit the cold porcelain wall. My feet gave way beneath me, leaving me on the floor in a puddle of despair. I had been in the bathroom for a while when there was a soft knock at the door. I stood up and hurriedly gathered all of my rubbish in the plastic bag before opening the door. It was the clerk, she looked at me with a concerned smile and held out a comforting arm. I shook my head and pushed passed her, unable to even formulate words. This wasn’t happening, I wasn’t pregnant.

I dropped the bag in the bin as I made my way back to the car. I sat there, in the darkness, numbed by the day’s events. I couldn’t even turn the key in the ignition.

Finally I drove home, it was late. Mom had waited up for me, and for that I felt guilty, but I didn’t say a word as I walked through the house and fell in to my bed.

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