The Life of Teddy (Chapter 6)

6:37 AM


 

    Jessie wasn't sure she had much fight left in her, or even what she was fighting for. David wanted her to get rid of it, that much was clear. They'd left the doctors and eaten take-out in the car. By the end of the night, David had exhausted every argument in favor of abortion that he could muster. When he'd run out of ideas, he turned to Google for more articles. Jessie had listened in silence, emotionally unable to enter into a debate or even to agree.  She had thought she knew what she wanted, so why was there this niggling doubt in her mind? 

   David kissed her goodnight as he left her at her dorm. "Don't worry. We'll get it sorted," he smiled kindly, then left her standing in the doorway alone with her thoughts. 

Pulling up her laptop, she turned on Little Women, an old favorite, and quickly fell asleep to the sounds of Meg and Jo, Amy and Beth, and Teddy, dear Teddy......

   Waking up to the sound of her own mumblings, of "Teddy," she found her hand placed firmly on her stomach. "Teddy," she said one more time, this time fully awake. Why this name? Recalling her movie choice of the evening, she smiled. Teddy, the pet name for Theodore Lawrence, was her favorite male character from literature. One of her girlhood dreams had been to have a son and name him Teddy. Sitting up suddenly, it all came rushing back. The test, the doctor, David's panic the night before...

    Looking over at her phone, Jessie realized she'd slept through her first class but had just enough time to make the next one if she hurried. Running into the lecture hall with thirty seconds to spare, Jessie quickly made her way over to an empty seat, carefully avoiding her various friendship groups scattered throughout the class. A lonely foreign exchange student looked up at her in grateful awe as Jessie took the seat beside her. The girl's social status had just skyrocketed enormously and they both knew it. Thankful there was no time for chit chat,  she settled into her chair, tuning out the words of the droning professor at the front. It was an "easy A" class, which explained why it was packed full of lazy seniors needing to finish off a few credits, while having absolutely no motivation to do so. Scanning the room, she saw two of her close friends excitedly chatting through the lecture. Clearly they were sharing a juicy piece of campus gossip. 

"Great confidants those two would make," she thought to herself sarcastically. 

    Once again, without thinking, she placed her hands on her stomach. She wondered how long it would be before her secret was out. There was no one in her life, bar David, that she could really talk to about this. He'd already stated his terms. They would get her an appointment, get rid of the problem, and go on with life as usual. This was just another bump in the road, an issue to be overcome. No doubt, in his mind, the debate was over. Speaking to her parents was out of the question and most of her friends on campus were either the brilliant, analytical sort, or the type who excelled at things like beer pong and kegstands, not heartfelt, personal conversations. 

"It's just you and me, Ted" she thought sadly. 

By this time the exchange student next to her was looking at her stomach rubbing with deep confusion. 

"You hungry?" the kind girl smiled, brightly. "Try this, very good." she pulled out a mystery food item from her bag with foreign lettering on it. 

"No thank you, " Jessie whispered back, "I've just got a stomach ache this morning." 

     It was true. All night, she'd tossed and turned feeling vaguely queasy and completely exhausted. She had so many questions. How far along was she? Was the fetus fully developed yet? How long could she actually hide it while she made up her mind? As the class finally dispersed, she was no nearer an answer than before. Deciding to grab a quick coffee before her next class, she picked up her phone only to find it buzzing. 

"Hello?" 

"Yes, this is Dr. Harper calling from Urgent Care with your results from last night. Both tests came back positive and you are pregnant."

     The words hit her like a punch in the gut. She hadn't even realized she'd been clinging to the hope that this was some sort of mixup. Perhaps like Ebenezer Scrooge, she'd wake up in her own bed at home, having learned a life lesson in her sordid dreams.  Hearing her worst fears confirmed by a doctor made it all too real. 

"Is there any way to tell how far?" She spoke quickly, looking around to see if there was anyone nearby. 

"We can't determine gestational age here, but I can refer you to an OBGYN or our local Planned Parenthood for more info regarding that."

As she hung up the phone, Jessie's life seemed to crumble before her eyes. 

"Oh, what a mess." She thought to herself. "What a mess!"

Turning around, she was startled by the foreign girl from class. 

"You forgot pen," she said in a light accent as she held it out to her. "You have a baby?" The girl asked softly. 

Once again looking around to see if anyone had heard, Jessie pulled herself to her full height, every inch of her the proud goddess half the campus thought she was. 

"I don't know what you're talking about," she answered coldly. "Thanks for the pen." 

     She moved past the girl quickly. That was the last thing she needed right now, having some social climber using gossip against her. Jessie's heart checked her. The girl had seemed kind enough and hadn't deserved the fierceness Jessie had shown her, even if she had stumbled on the dark secret. Deciding to skip the next class as it was one she shared with David, she made her way back to her dorm against a seemingly endless flow of students. As the afternoon drifted away, Jessie laid on her bed, willing her mind to make a decision. Sitting bolt upright, she spoke to the empty room.

"You know what? David's right. Let's finish this." 

    Picking up her phone, she googled Planned Parenthood's number. As a young woman answered the call, Jessie's stomach did a strange turn. It was a fluttering, bubbling sensation she'd never felt before. Teddy was starting to move. 





 

  




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