Chapter Twenty Six
A couple months pass and Veronica's baby bump is beautifully growing. Since, she's been to the special care doctor multiple times as well as seen the midwife that makes regular visits. Apparently the medical field fears that something could go wrong with her pregnancy as it did before. She assumes that they figure it was her own fault and may bring harm once again, but in reality they see it as a miscarriage that her body may not handle well to pregnancy. Either way, it makes Veronica feel undoubtedly uneasy to be monitored in such manner.
She'd confessed the secrets of her prior pregnancy history to Adrian after their last quarrel and make up session. He took it rather well compared to what she had imagined, though he admitted it was extremely bothersome to hear of regardless. He's been like a hawk watching over its young with her, eyeing her every move and constantly rushing to her side to assist as though she's no longer capable of self-help of any kind. She really doesn't mind, its quite different from her previous experience of being pregnant, and there's nothing in the world that would make her want to give up the love and attention she's getting this time around.
Jenna and Mason have been around more lately than ever. They were announced as the proud God-Parents at the private baby shower Jenna held as a surprise for them just last week. Of course, Jenna and Mason graciously accepted, and haven't stopped telling every person they possibly can since they've found out. It's safe to say they're excited, at the least. Considering Veronica hasn't been working nearly as much as she normally would, and Adrian left his job at Blank Canvas to help her with the gallery when she does work and to tend to her, the gifts from the shower really helped them be more prepared for when the baby comes.
“You need to stay off your feet.” Adrian tells Veronica as she grabs her paints from the storage room.
“I've been off my feet for days, and I need some activity too or I'll be like an immobile vegetable by the time I'm in my third trimester. Plus, I have a painting I want to work on that could bring in some much needed money for us. It's best to be prepared while I'm able to get around than to sit around expecting everything to just land in my lap and have done nothing for it.” She says and proceeds to walk to the extra room they plan to turn into a nursery.
“Well at least remember to take some breaks. I know how you like to just keep going and going.” He follows her into the empty room.
“So over-protective, daddy.” She playfully grins and he returns with a bashful smile.
“I can't help it. This is my first time at this and I don't want to make any mistakes. I need to take care of you, I promised I would and I plan to fully keep my word on that.”
She places the paints and brushes on the stand next to the easel that's set up. They have yet to make much progress in the set up of the nursery, but for now she's used it as a painting room until things move further along, then she'll have to make a space in the garage . . . if she'll even be allowed to lift a finger by that point. She chuckles in her head at the thought of how Adrian will be when her belly is the size of a watermelon and her ankles swollen like an elephant's legs.
“Jen's bringing dinner tonight.” Adrian tells her while she ties the paint-smudged apron around her waist.
“Great! That means I can focus on what I'm doing a little longer.” She smirks to herself. “I hope it's her famous dumplings because I've been craving to have them again since she last made them.”
He lets out a short laugh and walks up behind her to wrap his arms around her waist, rubbing her belly.
“My little dumpling.”
He kisses her neck and walks out of the room to give her some privacy for now. She watches him close the door but doesn't move from the position he left her in. She can feel the lingering tingle of his kiss sparkling on the skin of her neck and she loses all concentration. There's no way she can paint with this sort of distraction tempting her. She tosses the paint brush back into its cup where it came from and yanks at the ties of her apron before pulling it over her head and letting it fall to the floor. The warmed blood begins to pulse through her flesh and her temperature rises to an unbearable hot-flash state.
She makes it downstairs in record time and swings open the garage door, assuming Adrian's working on something in there as he's been for days. He's not in sight. She turns and heads for the kitchen but sees he's not in there either. Her adrenaline from the hormonal response of his seductive kiss is pumping harder and a slight frustration begins to set in as she can't seem to find him anywhere in the house. All she wants is to get this out of her system so she can get back to what she was wanting to do in the first place. Where the hell did he go?
Her heart flutters hard in her chest and stops her dead in her tracks. It's as if she can almost feel the miss-beats hitting against the walls of its cage and the panic nearly brings her to her knees. This is something she's never felt before. Is it anxiety or some form of a panic attack? She grabs on to the door frame and stands still for a moment, catching her breath, hoping to bring her heartbeat back to a normal rhythm. Her head does a quick, dizzy spin. Thoughts race through her mind, but she tries her best to avoid them as to not set off more adrenaline in her body due to fear of the unknown. Ignoring what ifs and whys, she focuses on the assurance that she's always been healthy so its nothing, just too much excitement at once she figures.
“Adrian!” She shouts and it echos through the hallways of the house, bouncing off the walls and back at her. “Where the fuck?” She says aloud to herself.
There's only one other place he could be that she hadn't checked, unless he completely left from the property, but it'd only been a minute in between him walking out of the room upstairs before she was after him, so there's no way he'd gone that quickly. She walks to the back sliding doors and looks out. There's no sign of him, but she opens the door and hollers his name anyway. He pops around the corner where the bush was hiding him.
“What the shit?” She jumps, startled.
“Oh damn, I'm so sorry babe. I didn't mean to scare you.” He walks up and wraps his hands around her trembling waist. “Is everything okay?”
“No, everything is not okay.” She says with a hint of bothered in her tone.
“What's wrong?” He asks and follows her lead as she walks in the house.
“You just left me hanging.”
His face expresses a look of confusion mixed with curiosity.
“I thought you wanted some time alone? I went outside to plant those rose bushes you've been wanting me to tackle since the other day. I thought you'd be happy to see them finally in the ground.”
“Which is wonderful that you're being thoughtful and getting that done, because yes, I do want them planted before the season starts to progress.” Her hand lands on her hip and he takes a hard swallow, thinking he's in some sort of trouble. “But you left me in need.”
“In need of . . . ” His anxiety of wondering what he did wrong builds at a rapid speed.
“Well you can't leave a kiss like you did on me and expect me not to get riled up. You know how I get from your touch. Those smooth lips . . . I need you to fuck me right now, Adrian.” She pulls off her clothes and chucks them on the kitchen counter that they're standing near.
“Now?” He questions with an uncertainty to her demand.
She nods and walks up to him. “Right now.” She cocks her head and grins.
“You want to go to the bed at least? Wouldn't it be more comfortable for you?”
She slowly shakes her head in disapproval and grins as she lifts the shirt over his head. Adrian's fear of something happening to the baby makes him back away. His sudden distance makes her feel rather uncomfortable and concerned.
“Is there a reason why we're not already fucking?” She asks with a fire in her eyes.
“That's the reason.” He backs away just a little more out of fear of her response.
“What would that be?”
“I'm not comfortable with fucking you, Veronica.”
“What? So you don't want to fuck me anymore?”
“No, I don't.”
“What the hell, Adrian? What's that supposed to mean? Where did this come from?”
“I don't mean I don't want you, or that I never want to fuck you again. What I'm saying is that I can't do what you want me to right now, not while you're pregnant.”
“So you expect me to go through this with nothing the whole time?” She throws up her hands and walks over to the counter to grab her clothes. “You've got to be kidding me, my hormones are a mess and you're not willing to give me the one thing I need?”
“That's not what you need. You don't need someone to rough you up and fuck you so hard that you lose the baby. Not this time. This time, you need to respect yourself and be respected. I'm trying my best to help you through this, can't you understand that?”
“No. What you're doing is shoving it in my face that I have a problem and blaming me for losing the baby before!” She finishes dressing and turns to get her keys off the stand by the door.
“Veronica no, I'm not. Don't do this. Please, just hear me out this once. You're always quick to run away from something. Listen to me, please, I'm begging you. Just stay and listen.”
Without another glance his way, she opens the front door and walks away from his plead.
Where you at? I brought your favorite.
Veronica reads the text from Jenna and hesitates to reply, unsure of what to tell her.
I'm not coming home tonight, can I stay at your place?
Adrian's worried about you. Everything okay?
Tell him not to worry about me.
I'm gonna leave some of this for him to eat and I'll be there shortly.
Veronica drives over to Jenna's to wait for her to arrive. She sits and contemplates about her situation, how all of this started with an infatuation over a young man she seen in the park that day. How can something so simple as lust for someone turn into this? It really doesn't make sense, she thinks to herself. All she'd ever wanted was the sex, to feed her addiction, and now her heart's involved. For something she's never felt before, she's no longer sure if she wants to feel it. Love, is it worth it? The emotions, the hurt, the pain, the anger, the frustration, the guilt, the fight . . . is this what love is supposed to be? Maybe this is why she's never loved before. Maybe this is why her heart has a cage of thorns wrapped around it. Her thoughts drift for a few minutes before snapping back to reality when Jenna walks up to her sitting in the car.
“So what's going on?” Jenna asks before they step through the front door.
“He doesn't get it. I feel like he's just judging me for all of my mistakes and for what I continue to deal with.” Veronica slumps down in a chair at the dining table.
“I don't think he's judging you, Ronni. Him not getting it I can see. Maybe he needs to be a bit more educated on what it is you're struggling with, brought up to speed so to speak. I just don't see him as judging you when he loves you for you.” Jenna puts a bowl in front of Veronica to serve her the dumplings she made for dinner.
“Loves me for me? I'm almost certain that's not the case. There's plenty I'm positive that he's not in love with about me. The list is longer than the breath in my lungs can handle with this baby pushing against my ribs. Damn, why's it gotta be so uncomfortable to carry a child?” She shifts in her chair.
“It's a curse.” Jenna shrugs. “Eat. You need to keep your nourishment for the baby's best interest.”
“That's what he does. He tells me things as though I'm out to bring harm to this child, like I'm unfit or something. He's always telling me what I should and shouldn't do. As if I'm that ignorant. I hate that shit.” She sits up to take a bite and Jenna puts her hand on her shoulder.
“I didn't mean to tell you what to do. I definitely wasn't aiming to make you feel dumb. I know you better than that, you're an intelligent woman and can handle more than most could imagine to bare. Besides, your human instincts naturally kick in when you're pregnant. It's proven that women are much like animals . . . and we thought men were the dogs, pigs, or even jackasses.” She lets out a snort.
Veronica can't help but chuckle from Jenna's humor at such a serious moment, she nearly chokes on the bite of dumpling in her mouth. She takes a large swallow of the tea Jenna just poured in a tall glass for her and turns to stand up from her meal. Before she has time to think, she dashes over to the kitchen disposal and loses what little she'd ate. Jenna rushes over to hold back her hair and begins to laugh.
“See? I can't care for you the way you need it, only Adrian can. I've apparently made you sick from my dumplings and if I don't back away I'll be sick along with you. You need your man to handle these type of situations.” Her laughter is contagious and causes Veronica to follow.
They carry on for a few minutes before Jenna sends her to shower and put on the over-sized, pale yellow pajamas she found for her to wear. Their night continues much like that of a sleepover hosted by teenage girls, chocolate chip cookies and a multiple movie binge before falling asleep across the furniture.
~ ~ ~
The next morning Veronica wakes up to a note on a brown paper bag.
Mason needed my help this morning.
Will meet up with you later.
She tosses the note back on the coffee table and finds her clothes to get dressed, remembering she has a doctor's appointment in less than an hour. As she walks to her car, her phone rings. It's Adrian.
“Hey.” She weakly says to him on the other end.
There's a brief pause.
“Veronica, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. Can we at least talk about it over breakfast together?” He pleads with a voice she simply cannot resist.
“Unfortunately I have an appointment to get to that I almost forgot about, so no time to sit and eat. I'll have to grab something on the way I guess. Sorry.” She winces a bit, feeling horrible about the way she acted yesterday and not being able to meet with him first thing.
“Do you want me to go with you? I'm not doing anything else.”
“No, I'll be fine this time. Just have lunch ready and I'll be home by then. We can talk things over and hopefully enjoy the rest of the day. I'm exhausted as it is, I didn't sleep well at Jen's.”
“All right. If you're sure, that's cool then. Just call me if you need me. I'll probably pass some time searching for work. Mason told me about this place hiring on the South end of town, but I have to apply online. It's part time, so I'd still be able to be with you and the baby as much as possible. I just need to get my shit together before the baby gets here, we can't afford to live the way things are now. I need to be the man and step it up, so that's what I plan to do. I'm sorry that I've been slacking lately, it's just been a lot to handle, but I'm ready to do what I need to.”
“I know. You're a good man, Adrian, never think any less of yourself. You're doing more than most men would be willing, especially in this type of situation. Just remember, we're here to support each other no matter what. If you decide you want to pursue your music, don't give up on it. I know we talked about it before and you told me not to let go of my passion for art and painting . . . well you shouldn't either.”
“Right now there's more to life than that for me. Your passion is worth what you put into it, you earn a living from it, even if it is slower right now due to the pregnancy. Mine is just a dream, it's not bringing in anything to help this family the way we need. Maybe one day I'll get back into it as a hobby, but for what matters most I need something guaranteed.”
“Whatever works for you, works for me. I just want you to be happy too.”
“I appreciate that, I really do. Just so you know, I am happy.”
A smile crosses her pale lips and she chokes up but holds back the water works.
“I'm happy too.” She reassures him. “We'll talk more this afternoon. I love you.”
“I'll be waiting.” He lets out a satisfied sigh. “I love you too.”