Friday, February 1, 2013

Fiction Friday Challenge, episode five


Dani stared down at the stick in disbelief.  Two lines, bright as day.

She shook her head.

How the hell did this happen?

She had taken her pill every single day that month.  She hadn't been sick.  She hadn't forgotten.  She hadn't done that thing that some of the women she knew did, where they claimed to be taking them religiously, but weren't. She had taken them, and dammit they were supposed to work.

Yet, there it was.

She closed the lid of the toilet, sat down, put her head in her hands and sobbed.

The truth was, she didn't need the test to tell her.  She already knew what was happening.  Her breasts were sore all the time, and she had developed an uncanny ability to smell anything and everything in a five mile radius.  She had been more crampy than usual and was falling asleep standing up at the hospital by early afternoon.

By the time she was late by a week, she knew it was time to face the music.  She'd willed her body to cooperate for all those days and it hadn't listened.

She had gone to the drugstore that morning to pick up the test.  Grabbed some shampoo and lotion in an attempt to mask the reason she was there.  The cashier looked to be about 17 years old, and he seemed more embarrassed than she was.  She quickly grabbed the bag and left, having never felt such humiliation in her life.

And for what? Women buy pregnancy tests all the time.  Women go to doctors all the time for pregnancy.  She'd just completed her rotation on the Labor and Delivery floor, and clearly all those patients had seen the set of lines she was looking at now.  This wasn't something she was supposed to be upset about.  She wasn't the first woman in the history of the world who found themselves pregnant on accident, but she just couldn't do it now.  She couldn't.

She spent the rest of the day composing herself.  She threw the test away, then took the trash bag out to the dumpster just in time for Bryan to pull into the lot.

She brushed the hair out of her eyes and mustered a smile.  She couldn't tell him.  Not yet.  Not now.  Maybe not ever.

They had only been living together for a few months, and she wasn't sure if he was really the guy she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. He was handsome and kind and had a good job.  She just wasn't completely sold on the idea of it all, no matter how great he made it sound.

She wasn't sure if she would ever want the husband and the house and the kids and the dog.

He had a normal childhood, his parents were still together.  She, well, hadn't.

She didn't believe that there were people in this world who actually chose to love and support one another no matter what, because she'd never witnessed it.  In her life, people left.

They always left.

She was immediately skeptical of it all, love, marriage, happy endings.  Maybe there were people like that, but she'd never known them.  She just couldn't accept the possibility that he actually meant all those things he said.

Bryan had even mentioned marriage a few times.  Already.  She wasn't ready for that.  She knew that much for sure.  Marriage made it harder to leave, and she wasn't sure she wanted to stay.  She still had another year left before she would have full certification.  She wanted to finish all that, pay off some student loans, travel.  She loved the idea of becoming a traveling nurse for a few years, moving all over the country like a needle wielding nomad.

She hadn't ever been far from where she was right now, and she wanted to see what the rest of the world was like.  Craved something, somewhere else.

Having a baby would ruin all that, just like she'd ruined everything for her own mother.

The next day, while she was between patients, she snuck outside and called a small clinic in the next town over.  She told them that she was pregnant, that she was seeking a termination.  They told her that she'd have to make two visits, one for information, then the second for the procedure.  She asked how much it cost, told them she would pay in cash.  Made the first appointment for the following Monday.  She would be about 7 weeks, early enough that they could just do it with medication.

She didn't want a surgical abortion.

She just wanted it over.

The next week was hell.  Dani fantasized about the world where Bryan was right, where she felt like she loved him enough to trust him with this.  Where he loved her enough for both of them and they would get married and she would figure everything out with school and it would all be okay.  That part of her that wanted this fantasy grew and grew with each day, and she found herself becoming more open to the idea that it could work.

Then, the other part of her, the realist, she shoved it all away.  She wasn't going to do what her mother had done. She wasn't going to get married because she was pregnant.  She didn't want him to feel trapped or stuck, and she didn't want that either.  She wasn't going to go down that road without knowing for sure that Bryan was the one, and she sure as hell wasn't bringing a child into it.

Monday came, and she called in a favor to a friend to cover her shift, knowing that she would have to do it again the following day.  She made the drive alone, in silence.  Her mind wouldn't shut off, there were so many things running through it all at once.  Could she do this?  Should she do this? 

The waiting room was empty, and for that she was grateful.  She didn't want to look at anyone right now.  She filled out the paperwork, inventing a new name and false address for this form.  No one needed to know who she was.  No one needed to know, period.

She was called back to the room.  The nurse was kind, though to Dani she may as well have been faceless.  Dani refused to make eye contact, but sensed that was fairly common here.  Women didn't come to these places for happy reasons.  She took the cup and went to the bathroom, returned it to the nurse without saying a word.

She sat on the table in an itchy paper gown and waited for what seemed like an eternity.

The doctor came in, he was older with kind eyes.  She had no choice but to answer his questions.

Yes, I would like to terminate.

He explained the risks, calculated how far along she was, and gave her the choice of methods.  She would have to come back the next day.

I understand, she whispered quietly.

The drive home was tortured, but different.  She wasn't as sure as she thought she was, but she knew what she had to do.  When she got home, Bryan had already started making gumbo for dinner.  She walked in, cold and detached.  He poured her a glass of wine and asked if it had been a hard day with her patients.

She gulped it down, then refilled the glass.

She sighed heavily and sat down, just said, I don't really want to talk about it. Maybe later, okay?  How was your day?

They ate as he asked about how her program was going.  She answered, but she wasn't really there.  She was fully inside her own head, and found herself completely distracted.  After she was done eating, she feigned a headache and said she needed to lie down.

Bryan came in to check on her four times before he finally went to bed, each time she pretended to be asleep.  She couldn't sleep, it wouldn't come, but she wanted nothing to do with him right now.  He climbed in beside her, still thinking she was asleep.  Put his arm snugly around her waist and whispered in her ear, I love you.

A silent tear rolled down her cheek.

Within minutes, he was soundly sleeping.  And she was still staring at the ceiling.

She wrested with herself all night about whether she should tell him or not, finally falling asleep just before dawn.  Morning came and he left before she stirred, stopping to kiss her goodbye as he walked out the door.

She had missed the chance to tell him, but she knew that it was just easier this way.

She let go of the idea of the romanticized happy ending.

The entire day was a blur.  Miles of highway, signing consent forms, handing over more cash than she'd ever carried in her purse before.  She had to take this pill now, the other tomorrow. They asked if she had ibuprofen at home and she nodded.  She swallowed the tablet, knowing that she was sealing her fate, closing the door on this chapter of her life forever.

She left with the bottle in her purse and the list of warning signs. In a haze, the next 24 hours came and went and the second pill was gone.  She'd hardly spoken to Bryan at all, and he seemed so sure that something had happened with a patient and she was having a hard time processing.  That stuff happened to all new nurses, and he wanted to give her time.  He tried to talk to her, ask how she was, and she just pushed him further and further away.

In the small hours between days, Bryan woke up to noise.  He instinctively reached for her and she wasn't there.   The clock read 3:12a.m.  He squinted at the light coming from under the bathroom door.

He stood up out of bed and walked to the door, knocking gently.  He could hear her sobbing.

Is everything okay, Dani? He was suddenly wide awake.

No. She sniffled.  No it's not, Bryan.  I think I need to go to the hospital.  

He threw the door open before she even got the words out to find her sitting on the floor.  The bathroom rug beneath her was soaked with blood, the pool reaching out towards him.

She sobbed and sobbed, she couldn't find the words.  She couldn't tell him.

She didn't have to.

Now he knew.

This post is part of a fiction challenge I am participating in.  This is a continuation of a story that already has two parts.  You can find them here: part 1part 2, part 3 and part 4.

Here is this week's prompt:

When was the last time you looked into someone’s gorgeous eyes? Maybe they were sea green and seemed to have all the secrets of the world behind them? What would happen if you had a chance to know this person intimately?

Then you find that person has a dark secret that would bring your perfect but lonely life to its knees.

Check out the pieces from the other participants!


  1. I love your fiction pieces. Can't wait for next week!

  2. poor Dani. is the baby her secret?

  3. hhhhhhhholy. wow. you got the gift.

  4. Holy Cow!!!! DeBie for the win!

    Gosh, this story just keeps getting tighter and better and I want it to be a book so I can buy it and read the whole thing all at once.

  5. Breathtaking DeBie, getting to know more about Dani's background. Another masterpiece, well done!

  6. I actually got chills at this episode...

  7. Aaaaaaaahhhh!!!

    Okay, that just freaked me out. Dani is such a train wreck. You just want to grab her and slow her life down for a second so she can pull her shit together! Damn!

    Good one. As usual.

  8. Oh God! This was great. I love the back tracking for this...It puts the Dani of now into a little more perspective.

  9. Tight. Gripping. Loved it once again. Damn girl, Dani!

  10. So now we see part of the road to led to her the lonely, drunken existence. I hurt for Dani. I have tears.


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