David and Diane have been married for years; then there is Julie, the young secretary whose axis collides with the couple’s in ways none of them saw coming.
David’s reaction to my announcement dampened my hope that this pregnancy might actually draw us back closer, but it didn’t squash it altogether. After all, this had not been planned or expected; so, I supposed it was natural that his first reaction would be one of shock.
He had said he would call back, and I was certain that once he had processed the news and did call back, he would be a lot more receptive.
As I waited for David’s call, my mind went from his reaction, to what my mother’s would be. No doubt she would be livid considering how disapproving she had been of my relationship with a married man in the first place.
There would be no typical ‘first grandchild’ excitement from her, nor would she be giving me pep talks on pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood, and that stung a bit.
But beyond that, I did not really care. After all, it was I who looked after her financially, not the other way round; so, her disapproval would not cost me anything. Besides, I had spent years looking after her children for her; surely I was entitled to one of my own, even if his/her father was a married man.
I did not hear back from David until four that afternoon, when he texted, ‘Leaving office now. On my way.’
This was just like him, to leave it to the last minute before letting me know he was coming, I thought to myself in a panic as I jumped to my feet to begin tidying up the flat. Not that it was dirty; I lived alone and did not spend enough time in the flat to make it dirty, but it was not pristine, and David was very particular about order and cleanliness.
With how important the talk we had coming up was, I did not want us getting off to a rocky start because of something as minor as an untidy flat.
I could not focus on the day’s work after Julie’s call, and I eventually gave up the effort and wrapped up for the day. Ever since Julie had dropped her bombshell, I had been racking my mind for a solution, and kept coming back to one conclusion – she had to get rid of it.
As a Catholic, this went against everything I believed in, but I could not see any other way out. If she kept it, Diane would inevitably find out, especially since she was now a client at Julie’s workplace, and that would be an even bigger fiasco.
Besides, I had already determined that I needed to wind things down with Julie to save my marriage, and that would be virtually impossible to do with a baby in the picture.
No, there was no way around it; Julie would have to have an abortion. Of course there was the question of whether she would agree to my ‘solution’, but if she accepted that this pregnancy was a ‘mistake’ then surely she would be willing to fix it.
On the other hand, if she had planned this result, then… no, I would not even go there; Julie was sweet and innocent and did not have a cunning bone in her body.
There was no way I could picture her planning this. It had been a mistake on both our parts, and together we would fix it, I told myself confidently. Slightly reassured, I left the office for the flat.
As Mark pointed out different aspects of the boutique’s campaign from graphs that he had saved on his laptop, I leaned in a little closer than necessary, under the guise of taking a closer look at the graphs.
The effect on him was instantaneous; he caught his breath for a second, and stiffened slightly when I ‘accidentally’ brushed against him, yet there was still an air of uncertainty in his reaction as well, like he sensed there was something going on here, but not sure if he was imagining it.
I did not push too hard, not wanting to scare him away, but at the same time, I wanted him to be sure that there was no mistake about what he had felt, so when we hugged each other goodbye two hours later, I once again leaned in closer and longer than necessary.
When Mark finally, awkwardly, stepped back, there was no longer any doubt in his eyes; he knew then that he had not been imagining my subtle invitations, though an uncertainty remained about how he should respond, for this was clearly a new and alien situation to him. I decided to let him stew over it.
“Goodnight, Mark; drive safe,” I smiled softly, then turned and headed for my car.