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Whitney Unbroken

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Chapter 2

“Whitney? Wake up, honey.”

I struggled to open my eyes. My eyelids felt like they were glued shut. “What happened?”

“You fainted.”

I stared up into Sally’s deep green eyes. “Where am I?”

“On the floor of the cafeteria,” she replied. “Should I call 911?”

“That’s not necessary,” I groaned, pulling myself upright. “I just forgot to eat today. I’m fine.”

“Have some juice,” she suggested, handing me a plastic cup.

“Thanks.” I glanced around the cafeteria as I took a sip of apple juice. A few people had gathered around me, but the majority were still watching the television and whispering about Senator Graham.

“Are you sure you don’t need to go to the hospital?”

“No. I’m fine.” I squeezed her hand and smiled. Sally was a good friend and a sweet girl. “Thanks.”

“At least let me walk you back to your desk, in case you get dizzy again. Why don’t you take the rest of the afternoon off if you aren’t feeling well?”

“I can’t,” I sighed. “I took this morning off.”

After Sally left, I settled in at my desk. But I couldn’t concentrate. There was no way I was going to get any work done.

Brent was dead. And I didn’t even feel sad that my boyfriend was gone. What did that say about me as a human being? I suppose I might have been more upset if I hadn’t also learned he was married at the same exact moment that I learned he was killed.

If anyone found out about us, my career would be over. Senator Graham was a powerful woman. I shivered at the thought of what she might do if she knew. As soon as I had an abortion, I would be able to put this behind me. And learn from it. No more relationships. They were too risky.

My heels clacked loudly as I crossed the stage to the microphone. Thousands of people cheered. I took the podium and addressed the nation, delivering the speech I had memorized.

My victory speech.

I was forty-five years old, and I’d reached my lifetime goal. Whitney Nelson had just been elected President of the United States.

The press shouted question after question about how I was going to deliver on my campaign promises.

The crowd parted, creating a path to the stage. Silence blanketed the large room. A young girl walked slowly down the white carpet that had magically appeared. She couldn’t have been more than four or five years old. Her red hair hung in ringlets that cascaded past her shoulders.

I gasped when she reached the stage, staring up at me with tear filled green eyes. The same green eyes I saw every time I looked in the mirror. She was wearing a long white dress with wings attached to the back.

I looked frantically at the security detail surrounding the stage. Why weren’t they removing this child? She could have a bomb strapped to her chest or something.

“I have a question for you, Madame President.” Her sweet voice echoed through the room. She was wearing a microphone?! “Why did you kill me?”

“I’m sorry, sweetheart. I don’t know what you’re talking about, but perhaps you should go find your mommy. Are you lost?” I plastered my best phony, public face on as my eyes scanned the crowd, waiting for a frantic parent to come forward.

“You’re my mommy!” she cried. “But you killed me! Why didn’t you want me?”

I bolted upright, my body drenched in sweat as I clutched the sheet with trembling hands. It was just a dream. Well, a nightmare. But it wasn’t real. I laid back down and curled up into the fetal position while I cried myself to sleep.

The sun crept over the top of the cherry trees, illuminating the gorgeous red and orange foliage of late September. I gripped the steering wheel with both hands, my mind far too preoccupied with crippling guilt to enjoy the gorgeous, tree-lined streets of Bethesda, Maryland.

The clinic was housed in an unassuming, brown brick building on a quiet commercial block. The parking lot was empty, save for a couple cars tucked in the back. I had prepared myself for protestors to be marching out front with signs depicting the horrors of abortion. But the sidewalk was empty.

After parking my car near the entrance, I took a deep breath and rested my head on the steering wheel. How did I get myself into this situation? Accidental pregnancies happened to other girls, not me.

Karma was coming back to bite me in the ass. When my best friend Lacey got knocked up after an ill-advised, unprotected romp in a bathtub, I judged her. Questioned how a smart girl like her could have such a lapse in judgement. A year later, my other best friend Carla found herself in a similar predicament. She assumed she couldn’t get pregnant when she jumped into the sack with my ex-boyfriend.

Who takes a chance like that? I watched from the sidelines while they dealt with the fallout from their choices. Everything worked out for my friends though, and they were both enjoying wedded bliss and babies.

“Fuck!” I screamed, slamming my fists against the steering wheel.

I almost never swear. It’s a sign of low intelligence. And not appropriate for a political figure. But I was so angry. Even if I wanted the happily ever after that my friends had, which I most definitely did not, I wasn’t going to get it.

The father of my baby was dead. And even if he was alive, he would still be married to my boss. A fucking United States Senator, who could end my political career with one phone call.

I never told Brent I worked for Senator Graham. Surely, he would have ended things if he knew. But since my research position was classified, it was easier to tell people I was an intern. It eliminated questions.

I grabbed my purse, slamming my car door before marching toward the entrance. I pushed open the door and charged in.

“I’m Whitney Nelson,” I announced to the receptionist. “I’m here for an abortion.”

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