Slumber

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Chapter Nine

“I still can’t believe it.” Felicity said for the umpteenth time. I rolled my eyes and sighed. After I had told her what had happened in the car with Phillip, Felicity started asking all sorts of questions, as well as squealing and grinning like a fool. It had been cute for the first twenty minutes but after three hours I got a little tired of it. Even now, over twelve hours later, she was still processing what had happened.

“I know it’s exciting and all, but can you please pipe down? It’s starting to get annoying.” I asked. I knew she was only trying to distract herself from this prenatal check-up, but it was starting to grate on my nerves.

“Okay, okay.” she defended. She was quiet until we arrived at the clinic and when I shut the engine off, I turned to her.

“Do you want me to stay in the car?”

“No.” she replied immediately, her face white and scared. I nodded.

“Okay.” I got out and together we walked into the clinic. The inside was clean and plain, with posters on health, as well as support group advertisements and a sign to please be quiet in order to not disturb other patients. Felicity took as seat while I spoke to the receptionist and then sat with her, taking her hand in both of mine in a show of support. We waited for ten minutes before her name was called. She looked to be in a daze, so I pulled her up and pushed her in front of me, smiling at the doctor on the way into her office. She was a nice looking lady, with greying brown hair and hazel eyes behind her glasses. Her office was the same as the hospital; sterile, white and devoid of any personality.

“Now, it’s Felicity, yes?” she asked me. I blinked.

“Uh, no.” I said, “I’m just the best friend.”

“I’m Felicity,” Felicity said, a tight smile on her face. Dr Baxter nodded, a clipboard in her hand. She began asking Felicity all these questions about her menstrual cycle, if she’d ever been pregnant before, if she was allergic to anything…it was hard for me to keep up really. She had Felicity do a few tests, did a physical examination and asked loads of questions.

“Now, you’re around thirteen weeks along from what you’ve told me. So, you’ll need to fine tune your diet, skip alcohol, sushi, soft cheeses to name a few. There’s a full list, here,” Dr Baxter said, handing Felicity a sheet of paper with a list on it. “Of the dos and don’ts. Now, there are vitamins that can help you maintain balance in your dietary needs without harming the baby. Try to cut back on caffeine. In addition to coffee, caffeine is found in teas, colas, other soft drinks, cocoa, and chocolate. I recommend that you switch to decaffeinated brews and sodas instead.”

“Jeez Flick.” I whistled, trying to lighten the mood. I could see the tension in Felicity’s shoulders. “How are you going to survive without coffee?

Dr Baxter laughed at me while Felicity glared.

“Now, as you know, you’re going to gain some weight,” Dr Baxter said. “But there is such a things as gaining too much weight. You’ll want to exercise, non-extremes such as walking or yoga are good choices. Yoga helps to build core strength that could be beneficial to you during birth.”

Felicity nodded and listened to Dr Baxter talk about safe travel and sex during pregnancy (to which I blushed and Felicity snorted) and asking if we had any questions.

“When do you think the baby will be due?” Felicity asked.

“Well,” Dr Baxter began, “There’s no way to know for certain, but I would guess around late January to sometime in February.”

Felicity nodded, but didn’t say much. I could tell she was nervous and scared by all the questions she’d been asked and all the things she needed to do. She wasn’t behaving like her usual self.

“I’d like to do a quick ultrasound. If you could please…?” Dr Baxter gestured to the bed that sat near the back of the room. Felicity walked over to it quickly, sitting down and taking a breath. She swung her legs around and lay down and I followed, crouching next to her and watching. Dr Baxter had her lift her shirt up and squeezed blue gel on it. Felicity hissed and muttered, “It’s cold.”

“Don’t be such a wuss.” I told her. It’s what she would have told me. She smiled at that and I didn’t feel so useless anymore.

Dr Baxter began the ultrasound and Felicity and I stared at the screen. It was black at first, but then came into fuzzy picture. I squinted, trying to make out a shape, but all I saw was a mixture of black, blue and white lines and blotches. Dr Baxter moved the equipment around a little until she found the right spot.

“And…there’s your baby.” Dr Baxter said with a smile. I didn’t expect the rush of emotion to hit me so hard.

You could see the little head and the small arms, the outline of the legs. The room was filled with the fast thwumpa-thwumpa of the heartbeat and I licked my lips. Tears welled up in my eyes before I could stop them. I suppose that’s when it really hit me that my best friend was bringing life into this world.

“Are you crying?” Felicity asked me, looking astonished. I wiped under my eyes.

“No.”

“Don’t be such as wuss.” She scolded and both Dr Baxter and I laughed.

Dr Baxter soon turned off the machine, printing off a little picture for us to keep and concluded by scheduling a next appointment. We left, Felicity staring at that little person that was, right now, growing inside her.

When we got into the car I just sat there, hands on the steering wheel and feeling a little overwhelmed. “Wow.”

“I know.” Felicity nodded. She then frowned. “Am I doing the right thing?”

“What do you mean?”

“Keeping this baby.” I looked at her. “Am I doing the right thing?”

“Well…I don’t know if there is a right or wrong when it comes to situations like this. I guess you have to just go with your gut. But whatever you decide, I’m with you.”

“Thanks sunshine.” She said. I rolled my eyes and started the car.

“Don’t call me that.”

“What? It’s your name.” she giggled as I reversed out.

“Shut up.”


I walked into Athens City Memorial later that afternoon, shivering at the realisation it wasn’t much warmer inside than it was out. Lennie was sitting behind the desk at reception, filing paperwork. He smiled at me when he saw me.

“Aw, hon, did you bring me something to eat? You’re so sweet.” He placed a hand over his heart and pouted. I laughed and pulled a sandwich from the bag, handing it to him. He looked surprised.

“Why so surprised, hon?” I laughed before moving on to find my dad. I always brought Lennie a little something when I came to visit my dad.

I found my father in his office, writing furiously and surrounded by files and papers. I knocked before entering, smiling at my exhausted looking father. He glanced at the bag in my hand and slumped in relief.

“Baby girl, you’re the best.” He said as I handed the bag to him. I flopped down into one of the chairs facing his desk, sighing. “You alright, Rhea?”

“Yeah, just looks like you’ve been working a lot today.”

“You have no idea.” He mumbled opening the lunch bag and peering inside. “At least I get tomorrow and Monday off.”

“No work on a Monday.” I grinned. “I’m jealous.”

“Oh! Apple juice! Thanks.” My dad lit up like a little kid. My mother often said she felt like she was raising two children with my dad around. I think she secretly loved it. “What have you been up to this morning?”

“I was out with Flick. We went for a drive.” I said. It wasn’t a lie. We did drive to the clinic and I was with Felicity. But I still felt guilty. It was a half-truth.

I watched as my dad’s whole demeanour changed, shifting from his previous jolly mood to a more serious one. My dad was rarely ever serious so I knew something must be up. Maybe he’d heard the rumours floating around about Felicity. I felt uneasy at once.

“Yes…I’ve heard a few things about Felicity lately.” He began slowly. I think he was choosing his words carefully. “There’s a rumour going around that she’s…well…”

“Pregnant?” I finished for him.

“Yes.”

“I’ve heard the rumours.” I stated coolly. “Since when do you listen to gossip?”

“Rhea, I don’t think it’s just gossip.” My dad fixed his pale blue eyes on me. “The medical community in this town is pretty close knit and one of the nurses informed me that her sister in law was visited by Felicity this morning…and you.”

Well shit.

“So I have to ask. Is she pregnant? Or was it you that needed the appointment? Because it doesn’t matter, you’re not in trouble, I just want the truth.”

“Dad!” I gasped. My face flushed. “I’m not pregnant! I’ve barely even kissed a boy! Oh my god!” I felt embarrassment rise up and colour my cheeks brightly.

“So it is Felicity.” Dad sat back sadly. I decided not to answer that. I promised I wouldn’t tell, so by not saying anything I wasn’t breaking my promise. Although I knew my silence confirmed what my dad said. “I was going to find out eventually, Rhea.”

“I know, it’s just…I’m the only one who knows right now.”

“What about the father?”

“He doesn’t want to be involved. He agreed to pay child support though, which is something I guess.”

“Her mother doesn’t know?”

I raised an eyebrow. “You think Felicity would still be living at home if her mom knew?”

“Fair point.” He said. “I never would have thought Felicity would make such a mistake.”

“They used protection dad.” I frowned. “Sometimes these things happen.”

“I suppose so. She’s keeping the baby?”

“Yes.”

Dad nodded, silent and thinking for a while. I felt like such a traitor, talking to him about all this. My dad got up from his seat and walked around to the other chair, turning mine and his so that we sat facing each other.

“Here’s what we’re going to do.” He said. My eyebrows shot up at the ‘we’ bit. “You’re going to bring Felicity here for all her prenatal care. I have a friend, Natalie. She’s probably one of the nicest people on the planet. I’ll ask her to take care of Felicity. There won’t be any charge, it’ll be on me.”

I gaped at him. “Dad…”

“Normally I wouldn’t do this, but I’m aware of Felicity’s home situation and I know that this was a complete accident, one that beat the odds and I know she tried to prevent pregnancy in the first place. Those are the only reasons. If she had just not bothered to use protection I wouldn’t feel so generous.”

I hugged him. “You’re the best dad.”

“She should tell her mother though.”

I sighed and pulled back. “I know.”

“She’s going to find out eventually.”

“I know. I’ll work on getting her to tell her mom.”

Dad pinched my cheek. “That’s my girl.” I rubbed my face, mumbling as my dad laughed. “Well, at least I don’t have to worry about you now. You know you’re not allowed to date until you’re forty right?”

I bit my lip. “About that…I’m sort of dating Phillip.”

“Kingston?” My dad’s jaw dropped.

“Yeah.” I said. “He asked me out yesterday after the game.”

“But I thought he was with that Melanie girl?!”

“He was.”

“Jeez you kids.” My dad ran a hand through his hair then pointed a finger at me. “Alright then. If you’re going to date him, then I want to meet him.”

Oh god. This will go down well.
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