Sammy stared at the white stick in her hand, her heart was racing, her knees weak. She wasn't sure she'd be able to stand. Two blue lines. That was all it took to turn her world upside down. No, THEIR world upside down.
She almost crawled out of the bathroom, but couldn't pull herself to her feet. With a groan she slumped against the wall in the hallway and glanced at the stick in her left hand.
Fear threatened to engulf her for a moment; this was what she'd feared all her life. Swallowing nervously she looked to the ceiling for a moment. She wasn't her mother; she had to keep remembering that. Her mother had never wanted children, she'd drummed in to her over the years that she should NEVER get pregnant, should never have a baby. Her mother didn't want to bail her out of her mistakes, that was what she'd told her on her twelfth birthday, and before every date she went on after that. But she was wrong, this wasn't a mistake. This baby was wanted, this was right.
She took a deep breath trying to brush away the memories that came with that train of thought; her mother was the only reference point she had to parenting. A woman who got pregnant at sixteen then spent the rest of her life trying to prove she was savvy enough to survive when she clearly wasn't. Her mother was someone who should never have had kids, and she was now the first to admit that. She was selfish and demanding, she'd been more of a child than Sammy when she was growing up. She'd had to look after her sad, subdued mother, when she wasn't being abandoned by the jubilant much loved version. It hadn't been the worst childhood, but it hadn't been the greatest, and it was that, more than her mother's warnings that put her off becoming a parent.
But this was different. She had to remember that. This baby wasn't going to be brought up on a shoestring, trailing her mother around the country at the whim of dozens of failed promises, dragged from one house to another, fourteen schools by the age of fifteen. History wasn't about to repeat itself. That wasn't her, it was her past, it wasn't her future.
She wiped the perspiration from her brow, tried to steady her taught body. No. This baby would be loved, cherished, protected. Everything a baby should be. It would be the centre of her universe; she had a home, a husband who loved her, everything that was different.
Smiling a little more, she dragged herself to her feet, legs a little steadier. What would Marcus think?
They'd discussed children; he'd been enthusiastic, as keen as her. But it wasn't on their immediate agenda. He had some big deals on at work, he wasn't able to devote the time he wanted, plus they'd only just got married, a quiet service in a small hotel overlooking the river for immediate friends and family...his family that is, and her mother. There was no one else.
As she reached the kitchen she glanced at the stick once more out of the corner of her eye as though she might catch the stick deceiving her, but it was still there, two very strong blue lines. Shit.
She wanted to call Marcus, immediately tell him their news, but he was on a business trip, he was due home that evening, about ten o'clock, only six hours. He hadn't been away on a business trip for a while, and she'd missed him every day, he had told her he'd missed her too that morning when he called her before heading off for his final day of meetings. He would make it all right, as soon as he smiled at her, as soon as he told her that he was happy, ecstatic...then she knew she'd be relieved, relaxed and happy. But until then she was tense. Marcus always helped her relax.
For a moment she remembered the time she'd first set eyes on him, Marcus, all tanned, toned and handsome giggling uncontrollably with his friend. He'd looked out of her league, oozed money and class. She'd been dragged up by her mother Monica. She was never 'Mum', always Monica. And her mother was the first to admit that she should never have had kids, but unfortunately for Sammy, she had. Her.
She'd been dragged around the South West all her life, never staying in one place too long, and she had no idea until sixteen that Monica had parents who wanted her in their life. From that moment she had stability, love, roots. She made friends, she finished her education, and she started to live as her mother moved on to her next 'adventure'. But she didn't have long with her beloved grandparents, and it was some inheritance from her grandmother that saw her take her first ever proper holiday at the age of twenty five.
It was there that she met Marcus. They'd been on the same ferry in Greece, her on a month of Greek island hopping, he a boys' trip with his best friend Joel. An impromptu strike at their destination port meant that they were stranded in the Aegean Sea for more hours than most could cope with. Whilst everyone was storming around angry, frustrated, he merely pulled a bottle of Metaxa from his backpack and a pack of cards.
"You play poker?"
The old Sammy would have stayed curled up on the bench seat on the outer deck, book shoved under her nose, ignoring the so obviously worldly man asking her to join them. But this was a new Sammy, she had a good job, her inheritance meant that she had money for the first time ever. She wanted to have fun, it was her time to be who she wanted to be, so she nodded, then sat opposite him and his friend, a more sullen and serious Joel and picked up the cards she was dealt. In not very long the three of them were drunk, laughing raucously, and for Sammy, it was instant love.
Life back in Britain wasn't easy; she was a senior stylist at a hair salon in Cornwall. He was a highflyer in London, always busy. But it worked, they worked at it. In a few months she'd left the job she loved in the town she finally felt was a home, and a best friend who was devastated, to come and live in his new riverside apartment.
That had been two years ago. Two happy years.
She smiled, if he wasn't flying back to London from his business trip she'd call him, she HAD to tell him her news...THEIR news. It was eating her apart, the excitement, everyone said to wait until the second trimester, have your dating scan, make sure everything is ok. But she was daring to dream, and the pitter-patter of tiny feet would only add to the equation.
She glanced at the clock again, five and a half hours until he got home.
After dinner, left over pizza, she sat in front of the TV and rued her eating habits. She'd have to start eating better, fast food and wine was now a thing of the past. Curling up on the sofa, she relaxed, he'd be home soon, Marcus. The smile that curved on her lips wasn't due to the humorous film; it was the thought that in a few hours she'd be telling her husband that he was going to be a dad. She couldn't wait.
She was cold and stiff when she opened her eyes, the TV screen was blank, turned itself off through inactivity. As she turned her wrist to see the time, she heard the doorbell. That was what had woken her, the bell. Marcus ALWAYS lost his keys. Dragging herself to her feet she stretched as she crossed the room. Sleeping in an awkward position had ironed a few kinks into her. She was at the door before she realised just how late it was.
Pulling open the door her knowing smile froze. Stood on the doorstep were two police officers, a tall older man and a petite blonde woman. They looked serious.
It was the woman who spoke, but as she nodded a reply Sammy was already backpedalling across the hallway. Police didn't visit this late at night to check how she was feeling. The woman had spotted her move, and she stepped into the apartment before she said the words, "can we come in?"
Suddenly she was scared, the hallway table blocked any further retreat and she could do nothing but stare at the two officers as the woman reached out, touched her arm, then said the words she'd feared, "I'm sorry Mrs Turner, but we have bad news."
She crumpled to the floor as the woman added, "there was an accident. Near Heathrow. I'm so sorry, but your husband, Marcus Turner was killed."