The Beginning of the Story

4:42 AM


   Staring at her reflection in the mirror, Jessie lifted her shirt slowly to stare at her small stomach. There, on the dresser, lay the confirmation to all of her worst fears, a positive pregnancy test. Her reflection mocked her in its normality; no bump, no feelings, just nothingness. She'd stifled her cries of shock when she'd first read the result, not wanting anyone else in the house to hear her. In a sudden impulse move, she threw out the evidence, grabbed her purse and ran out the door. 

"These things were wrong sometimes, right?" she comforted herself with the thought. 

     Jumping into the small Camry her dad had given her for her seventeenth birthday, she raced to the nearest drugstore. Feeling shadowed, she perused the aisles, quickly throwing in some Halloween candy to hide her true purpose. Finally, she reached the section with the pregnancy tests. She was sparing no expense this time. Hearing someone come around the corner, she quickly turned to face the tampons, heart racing like a thief. An old grandmother figure shuffled down the aisle, pushing her cart as slowly as was humanly possible. When the old woman finally made her final shuffle out of sight, Jessie returned to her original purpose. Reaching for the most expensive, digital test, she told herself she only wanted the truth. 

     But what if she didn't? What if the truth was the very last thing she was ready to hear? As she reached the front of the store, Jessie's stomach lurched at the sight of the male clerk at the register with the clinical status dandruff. "Shluffy," they'd called him in High School. Piling the candy, she tried to make small talk with the grumpy clerk. After scanning a mountain of candy, he came at last to the pregnancy test, hidden strategically at the bottom of the basket. 

"It's for my sister!" her forced laugh sounding close to hysteria.

 Shluffy's eyes warmed in sympathy at the outright lie. 

"Then I hope your sister is doing well," he said quietly. 

A blush of shame filled Jessie's face. She'd never bullied him outright in school, but she knew full well that it was she who had coined that awful nickname. Glancing at his name tag, she gave him a smile. 

"Thank you, Daniel." 

Arriving at home, she carefully closed the door to no avail. 

"Dinner's almost ready, Jess!" her mom called from the kitchen. 

    Having no time to marvel at her mother's superhuman hearing abilities, Jessie raced up the stairs and back to the bathroom. With a mumble of a prayer, that went something like, 

"Please God, no." she took then waited on the test. 

     After three minutes of torture, she dared to look down at the screen. +3 WEEKS was written in bold font. Catching her breath, she sank to the floor. So, it was further along than she had thought. Slowly, she twisted off the"True Love Waits" ring her dad had given her. What a farce. Where had she not worn that thing? 

     Images of wild parties and nights spent with her college boyfriend filled her mind. College had been a wild, whirl of fun thus far. It had opened up another world to her she would have never dared entering under the shelter of her parent's roof. And now that world had come back to bite her. She had messed up and messed up badly. Standing quickly, she noted the unfelt tears streaming down her face. She had to clean up before her family saw her. If she hadn't noticed, neither would they. She was the good girl, the one with the near perfect SAT scores, her parent's pride and joy. She had a promising career ahead of her and this bump in the road would not, could not get in the way....

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