Damaged

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Chapter Thirty-Two

B E L L A M Y

I still hadn’t told him when my parents came for dinner that next day. I didn’t know why I was putting it off—maybe I just needed to let it sink in a little more.

My decision to keep the baby turned out to be an easy one, whether Noah was going to be in their life or not.

“Bella, are you ok?” Mom asked from across the table, pulling me from my thoughts.

“Hmm? Yeah,” I replied, swallowing hard.

As I looked into her eyes, I realized that I had so many obstacles to go, and my palms got instantly sweaty.

Our parents had raised Isaac and me to be responsible, caring and good people, but getting pregnant at my age without anything being certain wasn’t in their plans, that’s for sure.

The same question rose; Would my mother be angry at me?

I didn’t live in her house, so she couldn’t use that as an argument anymore, but it was my mother. And she meant everything to me, as well as her opinion.

But I did live under Isaac’s roof. I hadn’t even thought about what he would think. Especially when he would find out his best friend played a role in it too. A pretty big one at that.

“Bella, you’re looking a little pale. Did you eat enough today?” Dad chimed in, placing his hand over mine on the table.

“Are you sleeping enough?” Mom asked, and I felt the nausea coming up.

I tried to free my hand from my father’s grasp, mostly because I didn’t want him to notice how I was shaking in my seat.

“You see, maybe you shouldn’t be working this much,” Isaac added, and my breathing sped up.

Oh my god, was I having a panic attack?

“Have you been applying to other jobs, honey?”

“Do you need some financial help?”

“Are you taking care of yourself?”

I jumped up, tears springing into my eyes. I couldn’t listen to all their questions anymore.

Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t mind—I would even be happy they cared so much—but now, I felt like I needed to puke and faint at the same time.

“Bellamy,” Noah said softly, and I tried to catch my breath as I scooted my chair further back.

“I just need...” I trailed off, turning and stumbling over my own feet as I made a beeline for the stairs.

“Honey,” my mother tried, rising from her seat and watching me run upstairs, but I ignore her.

Tears were streaming down my face as I walked into the bathroom, my skin feeling itchy and about a hundred degrees. My lungs hurt and I was ready to pull my hair out, feeling the walls close in on me.

Everyone was going to hate me. Oh my god, what if the baby was going to hate me?

I ran cold water over the insides of my wrist, splashing some in my face as well in an effort to calm myself down.

Therapy had taught me a lot about handling anxiety or panic attacks, but that didn’t mean they didn’t suck.

When I felt like I could properly breathe again, I sunk onto the floor with my back against the edge of the bathtub, wrapping my arms around my legs as I pulled them against my chest.

A soft knock on the door made me look up, and more tears flowed down my cheeks when Noah peeked his head around the door. “Are you ok?”

God, if this wasn’t the perfect time to tell him that he was going to be a father, I didn’t know what was, but I couldn’t get the words past my lips.

“I don’t know,” I replied, watching him as he came closer and sat down next to me.

I leaned my head on his shoulder, sobbing uncontrollably into his shirt. I was an emotional mess, and I was too scared of the consequences to share my struggles with the person I—

“Do you want me to call Maria?” Noah asked, and I nodded quickly.

If there was one person who I felt like I could tell right now, it was her, and my entire body filled with warmth and some weird tingle because Noah suggested it.

“I’ll just send her a quick text. Where’s your phone?”

I handed him the device, leaning my chin on my knees as I pressed my eyes closed, a lump forming in my throat as I tried to hold back more tears.

He placed my phone on the floor next to us when he was done texting, wrapping an arm around me.

“I’m so sorry,” I sobbed, not daring to look him in the eye.

“What for?” he replied, caressing my upper arm with his free hand.

Pushing away another sob, I answered softly, “I don’t want you to think I’m crazy, or weak.”

He scoffed, but quickly regained composure, resting his chin on my head. “I know what it’s like to panic. Or to have a bad day. We all have our demons.”

I felt guilty. What kind of problems did I have compared to him? I was just a whiny little bitch who ended up battling depression for no fucking reason. And this pregnancy wasn’t exactly the end of the world either.

“Hmm,” I hummed, or maybe I sniffed.

“You know what?” Noah shifted, scooting over the tiled bathroom floor to face me, grabbing my face in his hands and forcing me to look up. “How about we go out to dinner somewhere next week? Just the two of us?”

I blinked away the tears, getting lost in his beautiful eyes as I registered what he just said.

“Out here?”

He chuckled, and the sound cheered me up a bit, especially since I didn’t hear it often. “Yes. Or...”

I could tell he was starting to overthink, and I watched his Adam’s Apple bob up and down as he swallowed hard.

“Or do you not want to be seen—”

More tears flooded my face, and I grabbed Noah by the back of his neck to interrupt him. “I would love to.”

He softly pressed his lips on mine, and I was in physical pain as I thought about the secret I was keeping from him. Why was it so hard to get the words out? In front of him?

“Where is she?” I heard from downstairs, and Noah had just enough time to get on his feet before the door to the bathroom swung open and Maria appeared. “Bella?”

My lower lip trembled, and I looked up at my best friend with red, swollen eyes, ready to burst into more tears.

“I’ll leave you to it,” Noah said, turning and stepping out of the room. “I’ll be downstairs if you need me.”

I nodded, holding my breath until he had closed the door behind him and I heard his footsteps fade as he descended the stairs.

“I’m pregnant,” I blurted out, my voice coming out squeaky and hoarse.

Maria sunk to her knees, wrapping her arms around my shoulders. She didn’t say anything as she let me cry it out, pulling me closer to her chest.

I should’ve called her right when I found out. She had always been there for me, and I knew I didn’t want to do this alone.

“Noah’s the father?” she asked softly, shifting her legs from underneath her to sit back.

“Yes,” I replied, wiping some of the tears from my face. I managed to somewhat stop crying, leaning back against the edge of the bathtub and letting out a long breath. “I’m afraid to tell him.”

Maria stood up, leaning behind me to turn the water on. “Let’s get you into the bath, and once you’ve relaxed, you can tell me everything that’s bothering you.”

Five minutes later, Maria almost choked me with the amount of scented bath oil she used, succeeding in easing my mind a bit.

“So,” she said, sitting next to the tub on the floor and leaning her arms on the edge to talk to me. “Are you happy that you’re having a baby?”

I smiled, placing a hand on my stomach. If I was being completely honest to everyone—and myself—I was over the moon. Sure, the circumstances weren’t ideal, but I’ve always wanted children.

“Yes,” I answered, leaning my head back against the wall above the tub.

Maria squealed, tapping her hands on the surface of the water. “I’m so happy for you, Bella. You deserve all the happiness in the world.”

I sighed, grabbing her hand. “Thank you. I’m just scared.”

She cocked her head to the side. “What for?”

“What if I’m a terrible mother? And what if Noah doesn’t want to be a dad, ever?”

Maria gave me a comforting smile, rubbing her thumb over my hand. “You’re going to be the best mom. And besides, they’ll have an amazing aunt.”

I decided against telling her that Kelly had taken that position too, and just smiled back.

“But,” she continued, her expression turning serious. “You’re going to have to tell Noah. He deserves to know, and who knows, maybe he’ll be happy too.”

Somehow, I doubted that, but she was right. I had to tell him rather sooner than later.

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