Finally, after what feels like a millennium, the door opens and Dr. Mallard enters, smiling. He’s an older man who is always overly happy. I like him, even if I find his cheerfulness somewhat off-putting at this exact second.
“Mrs. Simms, how exciting to have you here today. This must be your husband.” He walks over to Gabe, who stands, hand extended.
“Sorry, no,” I chime in. “Definitely not my husband.”
“My fault,” he apologizes. “Your boyfriend. This is a new age. Lots of people in lifelong relationships nowadays without marriage.”
“Nope,” I say, popping my P with a bit more attitude than intended. “We aren’t together.” I look over at Gabe, who’s holding his laughter in and I silently yell Help me!
“Just got her knocked up,” Gabe finally speaks. “Classic fairy tale story of ex-sex turning into a baby. Turns out those silly condoms serve a purpose and really shouldn’t be skipped. Who knew?”
“Seriously!” I yell while shooting him daggers with my eyes. All he does to respond is shrug his shoulders and give me an evil grin.
“Okay, Miss Simms, if you can lie back and put your feet up we can check on this little miracle,” Dr. Mallard finally says as the nurse pulls the stirrups out and helps me assume the position.
Even if you don’t want your ex-boyfriend back you still always want them to think of you as the sexy one who got away, not the girl nude and exposed with her legs in the air while a doctor probes her. Great, fucking great.
“Sure.” I lie back and my head jerks to Gabe. “But you stay north of the equator.”
“Not a problem, Leigh.” He smiles at me. “But it ain’t nothing I haven’t seen before.”
“Well, it’s definitely something you’re never seeing again,” I snap back at him, causing the nurse to let a small chuckle escape.
I try to act cool by the fact that the doctor seems to think sticking a huge wand up me is perfectly normal.
Thump thump. Thump thump.
Our bickering immediately stops. The room is dark and the monitor next to me is lit up.
“Is that—” Gabe starts.
“That’s your baby’s heartbeat,” the doctor interrupts. “And if you look over here, you see that small little bean shape in the middle there.” He points to the picture on the ultrasound machine. “That’s your baby. It’s currently approximately the size of a raspberry.”
“Wow,” Gabe and I both somehow say at the same time.
We finish the appointment with a plethora of information. Gabe is quiet and the silliness that existed in the examination room is gone. We check out and walk side by side. Neither of us bringing up everything we need to discuss.
Does him showing up mean he wants to be involved? Does he assume we will get back together? Can we even do this together? Do I want to?
All the questions are running rampant in my head and instead of saying a single one of them I simply say, “I’ll let you know when I have another appointment.”
“Thanks.” He holds the door to the building open, letting me walk outside, him close on my heels. “I want to be here for you and our child as best as I can.”
I nod, but my mind is still back in that office with that beautiful baby. My baby.
“We ought to talk, Leigh.”
“You’re right. But today I got to hear my—our, baby’s heartbeat for the first time. Let’s not ruin it, okay?” We’re standing in the middle of the parking lot, neither of us moving to our respective vehicles.
“Okay, but soon.”