Soundtrack To My Youth (book 1)

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Big Mistake

“So I just pee on the stick and it will tell me if I’m pregnant or not?” Kate screws up her face, holding the stick in her hand. Kate, Bridget and I were standing in my bathroom, the instruction leaflet in my hands.

“Yep, then you put the cap back on and wait 3 minutes, a plus sign means pregnant, the minus sign means you’re not” I read from the leaflet, it was pretty straight forward really. “We’ll leave you to it, bring it back into my room once you’re done and we’ll wait together.”

Bridget and I shuffled out of the bathroom, back to my room. I put my Foo Fighter’s CD into the player and turned the volume up hoping that the music would fill the void that silence had left. Bridget and I sat together on my bed.

“What did Jackie tell you?” I ask Bridget, I knew she had been dying to tell me but out of respect for Kate she was holding it in.

“I’m getting married” She claps her hands gleefully like a child who has just been promised dessert after dinner. “It won’t be until I’m in my 30′s but we will be together for many years before that”

Surely she’s not talking about Carol? Jackie had told me that Sam is linked to Bridget’s soulmate and he had no connection to Carol.

“Did she give you anymore information about who it would be?”

“Not really, only that her name starts with ‘S’, which kinda made me sad because that means I won’t be with Amber” Bridget twiddles with her thumbs, looking conflicted, she loves Amber but the separation has been hard on both on them with communication being a mission to come by, Bridget would email Amber but her replies were few and far between over the past week.

Kate walks into my room, stick in hand, she takes a seat next to Bridget on my bed, looking like she may throw up from nerves.

“I can’t watch it” Kate cries, handing the test over to me to hold, she pulls her knees up to her chest and lowers her head onto them. I stare at the test, willing it to be negative but when I see the, very clear, plus sign appear my hopes are dashed. Holding the test up so that Bridget can see, I turn to Kate and put a hand on her shoulder, she pulls her head up and looks at my face, searching for an answer.

“It’s positive” I confirm to her, showing her the test.

“Positive?” Sam’s voice floats through my room, I hadn’t even heard them come in over the music but there he stands in the doorway to my bedroom, Alex by his side, eyeing us. I look back to Kate, her panicked face matches my own.

“I should go, I’ll call you tomorrow” She says, grabbing her handbag and rushing out of my room with Alex behind her, leaving me with the test still in my hand and a confused Sam.

“I’m going to my room” Bridget says, sensing the obvious tension now filling the room. I get up from my bed, place the test on my desk before I make my way over to Sam.

“It’s not-”

“I can’t believe you would do this Veronica, I thought you were alright with me leaving for Cambridge but I should have guessed it when you said you wanted to go on the pill” There’s panic rising in his voice as he paces around my room, refusing to even look at me.

“Guessed what exactly?” Now I’m just as confused as he is.

“That you would try and trap me to keep me here” He bitterly spits out, shaking his head with anger, he honestly thinks that I would purposely get pregnant just to keep him from leaving, I can’t believe what he’s accusing me of, it’s sickening and hurtful and completely unlike him.

“I think you should go” I demand, he stops pacing and looks at me, his breathing heavy and ragged. He looks from me, to the test and then back to me, his eyes soften, almost sorrowful but the damage of his words still remain.

“Veronica, I’m so sorry, I wasn’t thinking straight, I would never think that-”

“Leave my house now” I yell at him.

“Please Roni, talk to me” He begs, attempting to close the gap between us but I step back, not allowing him to get close. Dad appears in my doorway, arms crossed tightly across his chest as he takes in the scene.

“Sam, Veronica is asking you to leave, whatever is going on between you both can be sorted out once you’ve both cooled down tomorrow” Dad says, stepping aside for Sam to exit my room.

“I love you Veronica, please remember that” Sam once again pleads with me before walking out of my room. Dad steps further into my room, his eyes falling on the pregnancy test sitting on my desk, he wraps his arms around me and I breathe in his comforting scent.

“We’ll get through this pumpkin, I know it wasn’t the plan and I’m sure Sam will come round, he’s just in shock sweetie, not that that’s any excuse to talk to you like he did”

“It’s not mine Dad” I feel all the tension he was holding on to just melt away. “It’s Kate’s”

“I have to admit, I’m a little relieved it’s not you but I do feel for Kate right now, that poor girl must be so afraid.”

“She is” I’d never seen Kate scared of anything, she was fearless really but this had her coming completely undone. I only hoped that Alex had a better reaction to the news than Sam did.

~~~

That night I couldn’t sleep, I lay awake thinking about what Sam had accused me of, saying I was trying to trap him to keep him from leaving. It hurt me so much that he thought I would do such a thing when I’ve shown him nothing but support for following his dreams. Maybe Jackie was right, maybe we were lacking balance in our relationship. I attended every game he played and cheered him on but he hadn’t even asked me what my own goals were for after high school. We weren’t equals at all, if anything I was just a fan that followed him around and slept with him. Oh My God, I’m a groupie!

When did I go from having my own life, My own interests to just existing to be at his beck and call. I’d fallen back into the exact same pattern I was in when I was with Lucas and I hadn’t even realised.

Well not anymore.

My alarm was set for 6am but I was up well before then, I took a shower and got ready for my first day at the clinic. My eyes felt heavy from my lack of sleep so I prayed that the strong cup of coffee I had made would work it’s magic and bring me back to life but I knew if would take more than coffee to fix everything.

I arrived at the clinic 10 minutes before it was due to open, parking my car next to Nick’s in the parking lot allocated. I grabbed my school folder so I could work on my homework and get some study in for my exams, walking to the door I passed a few people waiting out front for the clinic to open. Being only free clinic in Claremont and working on the first come, first seen, no appointments necessary meant the clinic was always busy. I knew they had three doctors who worked rotational shifts here, including Nick, plus there was also a psychologist on staff.

Nick met me at the door and ushered me inside, he explained that it would only be himself and Dr Erickson working that day, as well as the psychologist, who’s name was Daniel.

Nick gave me a quick tour of the building, showing me where the kitchenette was with tea and coffee making facilities as well as a small fridge and a a glass container filled with assorted biscuits.

“You’ll be working with Kelsey today, she a little bit older than you, she goes to uni during the week. She’s been here around a year now so she will be able to answer any questions you have” Nick says as he unscrews the lid of the biscuit container and gestures it towards me, I take a chocolate cream and make myself a coffee. We hear the main door open and a few moments later a tall, slender blonde is standing in the doorway of the kitchenette, her dazzling smile instantly puts me at ease.

“You must be Veronica, I’m Kelsey, I’m excited to have someone to work with today, the old biddies complaining about their multiple aches and pains can get a bit boring when I’m on my own but with you here I’ll have someone here to help move them along. Full warning they like to talk about every single detail that is going on in their lives and they’ve got all the time in the world so they don’t care who they’re holding up” She laughs.

“Kelsey you’re meant to be selling Veronica on the job, not trying to get her to run for the hills” Nick gives Kelsey a mock warning, he prepares himself a cup of coffee and walks off towards his office. Kelsey and I walk back out to the reception desk area, we have around 5 minutes before the clinic opens so I have to learn everything as quickly as I can.

“The job isn’t bad at all actually, it’s pretty chilled and it pays well too” she takes a key out of a drawer at the desk and starts unlocking the filing cabinets. “The biggest thing you’ve got to remember is confidentiality, you’re likely going to see people in here you may know and you’ve got to respect their privacy, which means no snooping through anyones files and no going around blabbing to all your friends. What happens here stays here, got it?”

“Yep, completely understand” There’s no way I’d go running my mouth off about anyone who came in, I’m not Petra.

Kelsey places a large date book between us, opened to todays date and broken down into four columns, each with a name of a doctor or psychologist up the top.

“The day is broken down into 15 minute intervals, some patients are under the 15, very rarely, most go over, especially the oldies, which puts us behind. Long consults are blocked out in half hour blocks and must be by appointment only so that we know that they’re coming in. Daniel’s appointments are structured differently though, his are in hour blocks and can not go over so his patients are told to arrive 10 minutes before their appointments.” She explains, running a line through the column of the doctor not on staff today. “All patients files can be found in the filing cabinet and they’re in alphabetical order, if a patient has not visited us before we get them to fill out a form with all their details on it and a file will be created for them. Any questions?′

“Not yet but if I think of any I’ll ask”

“Great because I’m going to open the door now and allow the animals inside” She laughs, flicking the switch on the automatic door, immediately people start pouring in and forming a line. Kelsey grabs files for the patients she recognises and leaves me to fill in the date book, assigning patients among the two doctors. After about 10 minutes the waiting area is full, with some people even standing because there’s not enough chairs to go around.

After the morning rush of patients we settle in for what Kelsey refers to as the calm before the storm, meaning the mid morning slump before it picks up just after lunch. Being Saturday there are school aged children here with a parent and a few young adults and middle aged people who can’t get in during the week because of work commitments but mostly it is older people and they do love to tell us everything that is wrong, every lump, every bump, nothing is off limits, no matter how gross it is but nothing seems to faze Kelsey, she has a specific way of dealing with the oldies that I admire, she knows to offer them a reassuring ‘oh that’s terrible’ or ‘you poor dear’ to validate their concerns as she walks them to a seat in the waiting area, therefore freeing up the line so I can quickly get the rest of the patients in.

I had my head down, doing my maths homework when I heard someone clear their throat, Kelsey had left the room to make us some tea and to grab some biscuits so I was at the desk alone. When I looked up I was surprised to see Lucas standing in front of me. He was taken aback to see me behind the desk, shuffling on his feet and looking really nervous.

“I ah, have an appointment” He stammered, looking anywhere but at me. I can’t understand why he’d be ashamed to be here, everyone comes to see a doctor.

I scanned the date book, searching for his name in the list of the two doctors but not finding it.

“You’re not on the list, are you sure your appointment was today?”

“Yes, 11am, with Daniel” He almost whispers. I look back to the book and there his name is, sitting in Daniels column, the last place I would have thought to look.

“Yep, got it” I say to him, ticking it off but he doesn’t move away from the desk. There’s no one waiting so he’s not holding anyone else up.

“I didn’t know you worked here, if I’d known I wouldn’t have...” his voice trails off as he looks around awkwardly, the last thing Lucas would want anyone to know, especially me, is that he is seeing a psychologist.

“It’s my first day, Nick got me the job to help out now that my Dad has to step back from work” I explain as I pull Lucas’ file from the cabinet and sit it along the desk in Daniel’s tray. There’s a part of me that wants to peak inside the file, to find out the inner workings of Lucas’ mind but I know I can’t, it’s none of my business why he is here.

Kelsey returns to the desk, carrying two cups of tea and a plethora of assorted biscuits on a tray. She looks at Lucas curiously, trying to figure out why he’s still standing at the desk if I’ve processed his file.

“Problem?” She asks me.

“No, no problem, Lucas and I are in the same year at school” I decide to leave out the fact that he’s also my lying, cheating prick of an ex, opting not to air my dirty laundry on the first day. Lucas retreats from the desk, finding a chair in the waiting area as far away from us as he can get.

“He’s cute” Kelsey comments, once she knows Lucas is out of earshot. “How well do you know each other?”

“Too well, he’s my ex”

“He’s not like some crazy, stalker ex who just shows up wherever you are? If he is then I’ll call the police. I’ve had an ex like that, used to follow me around everywhere after we broke up or he’d do things like tamper with my car so it wouldn’t start and then play it off like he just happened to be in the area and could fix it” Her voice is alarmed, she’s clearly concerned for me but I really don’t think Lucas is a threat to me in the same way her ex was, well not anymore, it’s been weeks since we’ve spoken and he doesn’t follow me around or call me obsessively, we now just exist in the same space during school hours.

“He’s got an appointment, with Daniel, he had no idea I was going to be here and if anything I think he’s a bit embarrassed about me knowing he’s here”

At 11am sharp Daniel comes out of his office, grabs the file and calls out Lucas’ name, Lucas gives me a quick glance before looking away. By 10 to 12 I’ve completed all my homework that was set for the weekend and managed to start studying up on one of the history topics that will be on the exam, the one subject I probably don’t need to study for but I enjoy reading over the accounts of what World War II entailed, it fascinates me to no end.

I was so engrossed in Hitler’s final days that I didn’t hear anyone approach the desk, it wasn’t until I heard Kelsey warmly greet Sam that I looked up, my face must have told the story of how angry I still was because he hung his head like a child who had been caught doing the wrong thing.

“Hey baby” He says to me softly, placing a gift bag on the desk in front of me. I wanted to open the bag and see what he had brought in for me but my pride made me hold out.

“What are you doing here Sam” Trying to keep my voice neutral so as to not alarm the patients but it was hard when the word ‘trapped’ is all that I could think about and it sickened me.

“I knew you were finishing at noon and wanted to take you to lunch” Kelsey is watching us in awe, unaware of the shit storm that happened the night before, she probably thinks that Sam is just being a sweet boyfriend, checking on his girl after her first day of work.

“It’s practically noon now so you’re good to go” She says, waving me off, I pack up my folder and follow Sam out into the parking lot, throwing my folder onto the passenger side of my car. I’m still seething with anger and I certainly don’t want to go anywhere with him but I also don’t want him seeing Lucas walk out of the clinic and have Lucas think that I’ve told Sam about why he was there.

“There’s a cafe across the road” I say, walking towards the cafe, I hear the sound of his converses against the gravel trailing behind me but I refuse to turn around. Once inside the cafe I find a table and grab a menu, pretending to study it even though I know exactly what I want. I once again ignore the gift bag place in front of me.

“I’m a dick” He announces, he attempts to grab my hand but I pull it away swiftly.

“No argument about that”

“I’m sorry Veronica, please believe how sorry I am, I’m here for you and for the baby, it’s my responsibly too and I want to do this with you, I want us to be a family” I look up from the menu and meet his gaze, his eyes are rimmed with dark circles from his lack of sleep.

“The way that you spoke to me last night was exactly how Lucas used to speak to me. After years of watching him treat me like complete shit you thought that you’d try it out?“I need him to understand why it is that I can’t just forgive him and let this go, I worked so hard to repair myself after the damage that Lucas had done and I’ll be damned if I allow another man to think it’s alright to show me any type of disrespect.

“I had a moment where I reacted poorly and I fucked up, I admit that and I’ll do anything to prove to you that I’m here for you, no matter what, you have my full support, you and the baby” He once again reaches for my hand and this time I allow him to hold it. “I was so scared baby, I know that that’s no excuse because I’m sure you’re scared too. Please don’t shut me out though, please just look in the bag, it will show you that I’m on board with you”

I grab the gift bag and open it, inside theres a onesie with ‘My heart belongs to Daddy’ written on the front. My cold, frozen heart is melting.

“Oh Sam” My eyes are stinging with tears that threaten to fall at any moment.

“What I said last night was horrible, I’m so ashamed of myself and how I made you feel. I love you Veronica and I love our baby too.” And the tears begin to free fall from my eyes, running down my cheeks.

“Sam, I’m not pregnant” I don’t miss the look of relief that washes over him, which is quickly replaced by confusion.

“The test, it was positive, I saw it” He argues, trying to piece it all together.

“It wasn’t my test, I was trying to explain it to you last night...” I don’t want to start an argument, not again but I need him to know the truth.

“I’m an idiot, if I’d stopped and listened to you, instead of just jumping to conclusions and saying the worst thing you could possibly say to the girl you love” His remorseful about how he handle everything, which makes me feel slightly guilty for comparing him to Lucas but he has to learn now that it’s not alright to speak to me how he did, not if he expects me to stick around.

“We’ll add this to the present we get Kate and Alex, I’m sure they’ll appreciate it” May as well pass it along.

“That explains the three missed calls I had from Alex this morning, I wasn’t in the right head space to answer them, I thought...well you know what I thought. I should call him back, he must be going out of his mind” Sam winces, worrying about his friend.

I had messaged Kate last night after Sam had left, she said that Alex was just as shocked as what she was but they were handling it together, I was planing on calling her tonight too, I didn’t want her to feel that she was dealing with this alone, that she had the support of myself and Bridget too, as well as Alex.

“Sam I need you to know that I would have never tried to keep you here, I know how big your dreams are and I wouldn’t stand in the way of them, ever” I feel that this needs to be said, now, more than ever. “I also have goals of my own that I want to achieve, things that are important to me too”

“I know you do bunny and I fully support your dreams too” He smiles warmly at me, thinking we are through the storm, not realising that it’s still crashing down around him. I don’t want to lose Sam, I love him but I need to speak up in order for things to change.

“What is it that I want to do after uni?” I ask him directly.

“You, ah, wanted to be a ah....fuck, I’m so sorry Veronica, I have no idea” He admits, hanging his head and pinching the bridge of his nose in frustration.

“I wanted to work at the Sydney History museum because I love history but I never got to achieve my dream, instead I became a history teacher at Claremont High” I tell him, he looks at me a little surprised.

“You’ve never told me any of this”

“You never asked”

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