Brian was back to avoiding me and I couldn't blame him. I'd avoid me to if I were him.
Thanksgiving had changed everything. My mother was distant. My father wanted me to come over all the time. My aunt had cut all ties with me, she had told my mother if I was at any family event she refused to show up. My cousins seemed to warm up to me and Alec a little more and were a little less judgmental on the situation. My uncles opened up a little more as well and apologized to both Alec and I.
Sarah stayed cooped up in her house day and night. The past two weeks I had made twice weekly rounds to bring her flowers, soups and a new book. She was an avid reader of action adventure novels.
Alec had stopped by a time or two as well just to sit with her and give her some company. Her parents were around but they seemed to act as if she were a giant disease that they didn't want to get to close to.
Sarah has a surgery coming up, to remove her right breast and Alec and I had promised we'd be there for her. She seemed to feel a little better after that. The doctors had given her a slim chance of survival, they hadn't caught the cancer soon enough.
But we had hope.
I stood in the back of the flower shop, at my work table preparing bundles of poinsettia's, the seasonal Christmas flower. They were a really big hit around the holidays and we often times sold out of them around the middle of December. This year we had a little more than usual.
Mrs. Holtz was once again locked away in her office. Brian had said not to long ago she was having a difficult time keeping up with the shop.
I'd woken up this morning with a dull pain in my side, I had definitely slept wrong. Alec suggested I go to the doctors office just in case. Originally I had waved away his concerns but as the day progressed and as the pain intensified I had ended up calling the office on my lunch break and made the soonest available appointment they had which wasn't until after my shift.
Alec was going to pick me up and drive me there. He wanted to make sure the baby and I were both ok. This is what I wanted from him from the very beginning.
As I cleaned up my work station and swept the dirt off of the floor, Brian slipped past me. He gave me a quick glance before knocking lightly on his mother's office door before entering and closing the door behind him.
I sighed, I knew I had messed up in a major way. After everything we had been through and after each repair of our friendship we had had to do maybe this was it.
I winced at the sharpness of the pain, before taking a deep breath and setting the broom aside and grabbing my belongings.
I left the store without saying my usual goodbyes to everyone.
Alec was pulled up in front of the store, a look of concern on his handsome face.
I opened the door and slid into his car and immediately he took off in an obvious rush to the clinic. "Has it gotten worse?" He asked.
Alec's hands gripped the steering wheel tighter and he sped up. "I told you this morning you should have gone to the doctors"
"I know but it wasn't like this before"
We fell into a silence, both of us knowing if we continued it would turn into a finger pointing argument and neither of us were in the mood for it.
As we drew closer to the clinic, a cold sweat broke out across my skin. I began to panic. My hand settled on my stomach and I prayed everything was ok.
Alec reached over with his free hand and settled his hand on top of mine.
"Everything's fine" the words came out soft and light and I knew he could tell I wasn't simply trying to convince him but myself as well.
His blue eyes stayed focused on the road but I knew his mind was else where.
When we arrived, the pain in my side had spread to my back and I was cramping slightly.
Alec held my hand and walked me into the doctors office.
The receptionist smiling and I had to force myself to appear calm and friendly when all I really wanted to do was find Dr. Rolands and find out what was going on.
We checked in and thankfully didn't have to wait anymore than ten minutes before we were called back. The nurse brought us into a room, did the usual check up procedure, she checked my weight and blood pressure levels before softly closing the door behind her with a promise that the doctor would be in shortly.
Alec nor I spoke. The room was filled with tension making it hard to breathe.
Moments later Dr. Rolands walked in, she appeared calm but I could tell the smile on her face was forced.
Something was wrong.
"Good evening. So I hear that you have some pain in your side?" She asked.
I nodded and Alec was listening and watching her intently. "It's in my side still but it's also now in my back and I've been cramping"
Dr. Rolands looked up with concern "How long have you been cramping?"
"Not long, maybe about five or ten minutes. It started on the way over here" my palms began to sweat and I wrung them together. Alec stood from his seat and came to stand beside me.
"Have you felt the baby move today?" She asked.
Was I bad mother that I had to think about it? I was pretty sure I'd felt the baby pushing and kicking this morning but the entire rest of the day... I honestly wasn't sure. I'd been so engrossed in my work.
"This morning I think" I managed to get out. Shame courses through my veins.
She nodded as Alec gave my hand a gentle, reassuring squeeze.
"Alright Cassandra, we're gonna get you set up with an ultra sound to make sure everything's ok"
Everything seemed to slow down after that. It felt like it took hours before we were brought into an ultra sound room and even longer before the screen that showed our baby was presented.
I knew the procedure, so I had my stomach on display, ready for the ultrasound Doppler. Alec didn't leave my side as Dr. Rolands smeared the gel on my stomach before rolling the Doppler across my stomach.
The moment of truth.
Dr. Rolands stared hard at the screen as she found our baby.
It was still, unlike the last ultra sound.
The doctor didn't have to say anything. I already knew. I could tell. I looked away from the screen, a hot stream of tears were building behind my eyes and I looked up at Alec who was still staring at the screen.
His heart wasn't breaking yet but it was about to.
"I'm so sorry Miss. Joy but there is no heart beat."
I choked on a sob. My heart was breaking, slowly being ripped apart the longer I laid there. My tears followed a slow unyielding path down my cheeks into the curve of my neck and onto the doctors table.
Alec's body was shaking slightly, his face was drained of color and I could tell he was trying to hold back his own tears.
"I'll give you two a moment" Dr Rolands said before stepping out of the room.
I sniffled and slowly reached up to put a hand on the belly that would no longer be there.
It was my fault. I should have come in sooner, I should have listened to Alec.
Our baby was dead because of me.
My heart was withering away in pain. I would never be able to hold him or her. I would never be able to see him or her smile.
My sobs became more vocal and I didn't hold it back anymore. I let it out. A painful heart wrenching cry slipped past my lips and I curled my arms around my belly wishing things had been different.
Alec wrapped his arms around me and held me tight, we broke together.