Welcome back to Friendship, Texas. A town where your best friend may be dating an Olympic swimmer and his best friend may or may not also be an Olympic swimmer you sort of, kind of did the nasty with against Nonna’s goat pen.
“Is that…?” I asked, staring at Dr. Burly Santa.
He smiled and nodded. “That would be your baby’s heartbeat.”
The emotion I’d been storing away came flooding back as tears burst from my eyes. A baby. A person. This was real. I was carrying a tiny human inside me.
The doctor tried to console me as he gave me samples of prenatal vitamins and paper after paper was piled in a folder with my name and September on the front.
September. My baby’s due date.
Holy shit, I was going to be a mother.
And Johnny was going to be a father.
I had to do so many things to prepare and people I had to tell. But at that moment, I just stared down at my stomach. My stomach holding my baby.
This wasn’t just about me and my future anymore. This was about us. And whether I liked it or not, this baby was a part of me, which meant Johnny was a part of me. It was time we stopped running from each other.
“Why not? Starting to have second thoughts? Don’t want to let yourself go and have another session against the goat pen?” Johnny asked, wiggling his eyebrows and unwrapping his straw.
“I can’t drink because I’m pregnant,” I blurted.
Johnny stopped, mid opening his straw, letting it hang in the air as the paper fell to the table. He blinked once then twice before he opened and closed his mouth. “What?”
I sighed. “I’m pregnant. Okay? I thought I was just sick at your apartment then I went to the doctor at school, and they did a pregnancy test and referred me to an OB in town who confirmed it. I’m due in September.”
“Are you sure…?” he asked, still holding the straw in midair.
“Sure that I’m pregnant or sure that it’s yours? Because I haven’t been with anyone else in a very long time and we weren’t exactly good about using protection. So, yes, I’m sure. And if you want to ask any other questions, I really don’t have the answers. I just know that a bun is in my oven, and no one else but you, me, and the doctors know. Not Lia. Not my dad. No one.”
“Shit…I should have pulled out, but your dad came home, and I was so close, and it was too late…shit…” He ran his hands over his face and stared into the bowl of chips as if it had the answers.
We sat silently for a few minutes before he finally stopped staring and his eyes were on me again. “So…what do you want to do?”
I raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean what do I want to do?”
“I mean do you want to get married? ‘Cuz I’ll propose right now. Fuck dating and taking it slow, let’s do this,” he said, taking his straw wrapper and twisting it into a bow before holding it out to me.
I shook my head. “Just because I’m pregnant doesn’t mean we need to get married. We barely know each other.”
“Yeah, but we’re having a kid, I mean at least I think we are. I’m all for women having a choice and all, but if you’re thinking of another option, I’d like to know that too.”
I sighed. “I don’t think I can do that other choice. I heard the baby’s heartbeat the other day, and well…there is a person in me. A person with a heartbeat.”
Johnny put his hand on mine. “Tell me what you want me to do, and we’ll figure it out together.”
I looked up, meeting his concerned eyes, which was something I never expected. “I don’t know what I want,” I squeaked out.
I was never a crier, but now, with the extra hormones, I felt like I could cry at the drop of a hat. That was the last thing I wanted to do in a restaurant with a hot swimmer staring at me.
“Wanna get out of here and go somewhere more private?” he asked.
“But aren’t you hungry?” I asked.
He smiled and pulled out his wallet, setting a few bills on the table. “I can swing through a drive-through. Come on.”
Johnny stood up and offered me his hand. “Let’s get out of here.”