I was pregnant.
I couldn't deny it anymore. I really was pregnant with Aaron's baby, and I honestly didn't know what to do. I guess I'd kind of known it for a little while now, but just couldn't face the truth. Instead I ignored the symptoms the hardest I could. But lately that had almost been impossible.
I knew Aaron started to get suspicious about why I wasn't eating much, but so far I'd managed to distract him every time I had to sneak off to the bathroom. Yeah, I was nauseous, and I sometimes puked too. But compared to others it wasn't really that bad.
The biggest reason why I wasn't eating was that I was terrified of gaining weight. I knew I would sooner or later, but I just wasn't ready to tell anyone yet, which included my parents. And Aaron? Poor man. He'd been through hell and back with Bree, and now he was stuck in the same situation with this woman named Allison. And now me on top of it all? I couldn't do that to him.
It scared me how depressed he was after I left. He looked so lost and skinny that I barely recognized him. And with the beard and his wild curls, I could have easily walked past him on the street without noticing. And that tells a lot. But he was in a better state of mind now. He would be okay.
Still, how could I leave him now that we'd come so far? What we had right now made me the happiest person on the planet, and it tore me apart to know that it couldn't last. In only a few weeks time I wouldn't be able to hide it anymore, and then I'd have to let him go.
I saw how unhappy this whole ordeal with Allison's pregnancy made him. He even refused to walk into the nursery, the room they'd made for their little infant. But I did. I studied the rocking chair next to the window, the changing table and the little dresser that was already filled with pink clothes. Then I admired the crib. It was beautifully made of white painted wood, with soft cotton blankets and a cute little pillow with a princess crown on it.
I wondered if the little seed inside me was a boy or a girl. Then I stroked my belly and promised to love him or her enough for the both of us. Even though I left him, I would still have a part of him with me. That should be a comfort.
Only, it wasn't.
Nevertheless, Aaron deserved to be free rather than chained down with his worst fear, and I'd just have to deal with my new situation the best I could. But there was no denying that it would be tough to be a single mom, living on a waitress income.
Could I ever afford making a beautiful room like their nursery for my baby? Probably not. But I'd manage somehow.
Time and time again I'd thought of his reaction when Allison told him she was expecting, and I just couldn't get the image of his horrified eyes out of my mind. His first reaction was that he wanted an abortion, and he freaked out when he found out when it was too late. Then he got mad, and I didn't want him to get mad at me and beg me to do the same thing.
I also saw how tense he was at the doctor's office, when Allison had her ultrasound. I heard his angry voice and felt him squeeze my hand a little extra while we once again walked through the park where we'd made out a few days ago. It wasn't the same anymore. Looking at Allison's big belly was a mirror of how I would be by the end of September.
The baby was conceived on New Year's eve, and it was such an amazing couple of hours before hell broke loose. Then we left in a hurry, and after that, Rocco was constantly angry or annoyed. We were still married, but except for the confrontation with his mom and granddad, we avoided each other the best as we could.
I knew for sure that the baby was Aaron's, because Rocco and I didn't have sex around that time. I'd still taken my pills on time, though. Every single day. I didn't want to get pregnant, yet here I was, wearing baggy clothes and doing my best to pretend like normal. But nothing could ever be normal anymore. I just had to face it. And now was probably the best time for me to leave.
Aaron would be busy with his newborn daughter, and I would go back to New York and finally have my first pregnancy consultation. And after that... Well, then it was real.
My mom just called and told me she was in a car crash. She's not badly injured, but I need to go home to see her.
There it was. A big, fat lie. He'd told me he liked the notes that I left him now and then, but I wasn't too sure how he would react to this one. We'd come so far the last few days, and I finally felt like I'd earned his trust. And now I was going to break it. Maybe this was the last time I saw him?
My tears streamed down my cheeks while I packed my bag and left, and I did nothing to stop them. I kept reminding myself that I did it because I loved him, but it felt so unfair. So in an attempt to ease some of my pain, I stole one of his worn t-shirts so I could smell him every night I went to bed.
I missed him already. And when I locked the door to his apartment and slipped the key back under the pot with the dead plant, I cried. And I was still crying when I sneaked into my old room in the basement of my parent's house in the middle of the night.
"Goodbye, Aaron," I whispered. Then I cried myself to sleep with his t-shirt in my hands, soaking up my endless tears.
I'd tried to call Bambi all day. I had great news to tell, but each time I got the robotic voice that told me to leave a message. And I did. Several. And the longer it took until she answered, the more worried I got. Maybe she got into an accident too? God, I hope not. She was probably at the hospital with her mother and ran out of batteries. Still, she could at least have texted me from another phone to tell me she was alright.
I read her note over and over again, and wandered restlessly around until my phone finally rang.
"Bambi! Oh, my God! Are you alright?" I exclaimed the moment I picked up.
"How's your mom? Is it serious?"
I felt confused as to why she was so reluctant to answer. Did I do anything wrong? Is that why she left? Maybe she was jealous of Allison and couldn't keep up her façade anymore? But that wasn't a problem anymore. As soon as she confirmed that her mother was okay, I blurted out:
"I'm not the father!"
She was silent on the other end, but I could clearly envision her beautiful smile.
"The kid, who was pretty adorable by the way, was way too white to be mine. She was blonde with milky-white skin, maybe even lighter than Allison herself, and so far from my darker Caucasian genes. I don't even need to read the result of the paternity test. She's definitely not mine."
I felt the relief flush through me, just like it did at the hospital when I first saw her. I would never forget Allison's guilty look, when I looked at her in disappointment and shook my head. Then I left without a word and went straight home to tell Martina. But she wasn't there.
"Isn't that great news?" I said eagerly, but with a growing feeling that something was wrong. And I was right, because when she finally spoke, she sounded hoarse and groggy.
"That's wonderful, Aaron. I'm happy for you."
"Bambi? Are you alright? You sound so..."
"I'm fine," she interrupted promptly.
"I'm catching a cold, that's all. Probably the air-conditioner on the plane or something."
"Oh, my poor girlfriend," I said and snickered to myself. I was still not used to it, but it felt fucking amazing.
"I wish I could be there and make you better."
Then I had to add:
"...if you know what I mean."
I smirked and wished she could see it, and felt thrilled when I finally could hear her laughter. A short-lived one, but still.
"You're hopeless," she said, but I could almost hear the smile in her voice. Then she said something that made me a bit confused.
"Promise that you'll never change."
"Uhm... Yeah?" I said, and frowned.
"Look, I gotta go now. I have an appointment. Or... My mom has one and I need to help her."
"Oh. Alright. I'll talk to you later, then?"
Huh. She really wasn't herself. She sounded exhausted and shut down. Hopefully she'd get some rest later and feel better. I just wished I was there to at least give her a hug. But when I was about to tell her that, she'd already hung up.