What Doesn't Kill You

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Chapter 27

“I honestly can’t believe you did that for him,” Ava said. She was standing in front of Scout while Scout was bent at the knees so she could run a hand over her bare scalp. People had definitely stared but she kept reminding herself that it would grow back and it was an action done from love. Let them stare.

“It’s nothing compared to what he’s going through.”

“He’s damn lucky to have you.”

“Lucky by name, lucky by nature.” Scout straightened up and followed Ava into the living room where she finished tidying up a few bits. Scout perched on the arm of her couch and watched her. “How have you been feeling?” she asked, nodding to Ava’s bump.

Ava rubbed her swollen belly. “Not so nauseous anymore so I’m happier. Michael must think I’m a nightmare to live with at the moment.” Scout laughed. “Are you feeling any better?”

“I still feel sickly sometimes but it’s not been too bad,” Scout shrugged. “I’m eating everything in sight so at least my appetite isn’t suffering though that’s not great. I’ve put on a tonne of weight.” Scout prodded a finger at her stomach. Okay, a tonne might be an exaggeration but she felt a little softer thanks to her snacking.

“Are you sure you’re not pregnant?” Ava laughed.

Scout joined in. “No way. My period… my period…”

Her period. She hadn’t had her period. Scout sat there thinking of the date and the last time she had her period. They were almost at the end of march. So much had happened this year already but she could see the box of tampons in the cabinet in the bathroom. She hadn’t touched them. She would have needed to pick up a new pack by now.

“Scout?” Ava asked as Scout’s face drained of colour. “You’re not pregnant, are you?”

“I… I don’t know.”

She’d been feeling sick and lightheaded at times but Scout thought she’d picked up a sickness bug considering how often they’d been in and out of the hospital. Her appetite dropped and picked back up. She’d been sleeping a little longer than usual. That could all be due to sickness but the missed period…

Stress. They’d been under a lot of stress. She’d been under a lot of stress. Stress could delay your period. She prayed it was the stress.

Ava looked at her. “Do you want to take a test? I have one left from when I did it.” Scout nodded and followed Aca into the bathroom. Ava rummaged around in her cabinet. “I bought a load of them when we thought I was pregnant. Michael made me stop testing after three so one was left.” She handed Scout a box wrapped in cellophane and Scout blinked at it for a few moments.

She had never in all her life forgotten to take the pill. Considering she didn’t have a Mum to talk about this stuff with, she made sure she took it like clockwork so she would never have to have the conversation with her Dad. With everything going on, she hadn’t kept track of things are tightly and there was a sinking feeling in her stomach as she worked out what the date was and that she was late for her cycle.

Scout’s hand wrapped around Ava’s wrist and pulled her close.

“Scout!” Ava said. “I can wait outside… you don’t look so good.”

She didn’t feel so good. “Please just stay with me.”

“Yeah, of course.”

Scout looked at the box in her hand and fumbled with it. Eventually she opened it and pulled out the test and leaflet.

“I’ll tell you what to do,” Ava said, taking the leaflet from her hand and talking Scout through it all. She turned around while Scout peed and when she was done Ava sat on the edge of the tub and Scout put the toilet lid down and sat on it.

Three minutes had never taken as long as they had now. Three minutes suddenly felt like three years and the fact that Ava and Scout were sitting in complete silence didn’t help. Scout jumped out of her skin when the timer on her phone went off and Ava laughed.

Scout cancelled it and stuffed her phone in her pocket before picking up the test. “I can’t do it. I can’t look.”

“Just look.”

“I can’t.”

“Give it here.”

Scout held the test out to Ava who reached across the space but Scout pulled it back. “No. I can do it.”

“Okay. Do it.”

Scout took in a deep breath. “I can’t do it.”

“Scout!”

Scout jumped at her outburst and looked at the test in her hand. Science in a stick. Science or witchcraft? She had just peed on a stick and it was going to tell her if she had something growing inside her. Witchcraft. Definitely witchcraft. Her eyes fixated on the little window on the test and everything suddenly started going blurry and she realised she was crying.

Ava pushed herself off the edge of the bath and came towards her. She took the test from Scout’s hands and glanced at it. “Oh Scout…”

Two lines. Pregnant.

“This is not what I planned,” Scout whispered.

“Scout…”

“This is not what’s meant to happen.”

Ava hugged her and Scout rested her head against Ava’s stomach. She felt numb from the shock of the result. Ava stroked her hair gently and let the action soothe Scout.

How could she have been so stupid? She’d been juggling too many plates and not focusing enough. She was trying to remember the appointments and auditions and work and treating Lucky like her boyfriend and not a patient. You could see how it would be easy to have missed a pill or two in all of that but she still felt stupid.

“You need to tell him,” Ava said.

Scout tensed. She needed to tell him. Scout needed to tell Lucky that she’d messed up. For a few moments she wondered if she could get away with not telling him but Ava knew and there was no way to keep this a secret.

“He’s going to hit the roof.” Scout whispered the words against Ava’s stomach. Lucky had been so angry about things lately. His life changed so dramatically that Scout wasn’t surprised. This was just another bombshell that would unsettle their lives again.

Needless to say, their shopping trip did not happen. Ava talked Scout down from her panic and when Scout finally stopped crying, Ava called Michael to come home. Scout went back to the flat and when she pulled up outside, she just sat in the car, unable to move.

Her body felt foreign to her. It was like she wasn’t quite sure what it was doing. It’d done something without her knowing. It’d began the process of growing a life when she didn’t ask it to, when she wasn’t at all prepared. Scout closer her eyes and rested her head against the steering wheel of Lucky’s car. The leather was cold and made her shiver.

Scout was a planner. She had always been a planner. She liked to know how things would go and she liked to be in control. Scout didn’t particularly believe in things like fate or destiny. She thought you grafted hard in life and you got out of it what you put in but ever since she’d moved back to Swansea everything had consistently been up in the air. So many of her plans had gone askew but this had to be the biggest one.

Scout jumped at the sound of the car door opening and she looked up to see Lucky getting into the passenger side of the car and closing the door again.

“Are you crying?” he asked. “Scout, what’s wrong?” She didn’t realise that the tears had been falling. She moved her hand up and wiped them away. “Baby, what happened?” Lucky asked. “Did you fight with Ava? You know she’s not going to mean half the stuff she said. Michael said she’s been moody lately.” Lucky tucked some of her hair behind her ear.

Scout unbuckled her belt. “No. It’s not that. We didn’t fight.”

His face paled a little. “Is it your Dad?”

Her heart skipped a little in her chest. Lucky, despite how sick he was, had been nothing but polite to Jim. Scout watched the way their relationship had grown. It was hard to believe that a few months ago Scout was hesitant about them meeting and they sank into conversations easily. Lucky broadened Jim’s alcoholic repertoire and Jim called Lucky son.

“Dad’s fine.”

Lucky relaxed. “What is it, Scout? Let’s get inside and you can tell me what’s upsetting you.” Scout shook her head and his brow furrowed. “Is it the hair? Did someone say something?”

Scout was struggling to form the words to tell him so he could stop worrying and guessing what it was that had upset her so badly. “No, it’s not the hair, Luck…”

He was staring at her across the central console of the car and Scout felt herself getting shaky. It started in her chest and ran down her arms. She couldn’t control it. Lucky took one of her hands in his and cupped her face with the other. “Scout, talk to me. You’re worrying me.”

“I’m so stupid.”

“Why, Scout? Why do you think that?”

The tears came again, thick and fast because she couldn’t shake them. She was still in shock that people from her year in school were getting married and having kids. Scout looked at them and thought they were too young to be doing those things. She wasn’t sure she wanted kids and if she did then it would be somewhere in her thirties.

“Speak to me, sunshine.” Lucky’s thumb rubbed a tear away from her face. It’s been a long time since Lucky had comforted her over something. Aside from the break up, Scout had been propping him up and taking care of her own shit and she suddenly realised how exhausted she was. She needed someone to be there for her and that person, her person, was Lucky.

“I’m pregnant.” The words came out in a strangled whisper and the car was silent after.

“You’re sure?” Lucky asked eventually.

She bit hard on her bottom lip, trying to compose herself as she nodded. His hand dropped from her face and took her other hand, gripping them tight. Lucky was an anchor in the swirl of emotions.

“Things have been so busy,” Scout explained. “I must have lost track. I shouldn’t have. I know –”

“Scout, you were worried about telling me?”

She nodded. Scout was terrified to tell him. This wasn’t the right time for a baby. They’d only been together for a few months. Adding a baby into the mix on top of Lucky’s treatment and their plans was just going to make everything a little more complicated.

“You don’t need to worry, Scout.” Lucky said it with a laugh and she blinked a few tears out of her eyes so they went rolling down her cheeks. “I’ll stand by you through this. I’ll be right with you while you carry our baby.”

His words pinged around her head. Lucky was smiling at her. She wasn’t sure she had fully processed what was going on. Her brain and body seemed to be doing different things.

“I… I’m not sure I can have this baby,” she said.

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