The Cost

5:35 AM


    Completely thrown off course by the strange flutters, Jessie hung up the phone without a word. What on earth was that? The next few days went by in a blur. It was as if her mind was on a constant loop. She floated in and out of classes, not having listened to a word of the lectures. Texts from friends went unanswered and David had to be avoided completely. She'd ignored every call and text, even pretending to be asleep or away when he'd knocked on her door. 

  Finally, he managed to corner her. A week after their initial talk and the doctor's appointment, Jessie came back from a late afternoon class to find David in the common room of her dorm. There he sat, laughing and charming a variety of dorm girls. His handsome face and magnetic personality drew her once again. What kind of crazy person would run away from a guy like him? Turning to her, a shadow passed over David's face. Once again, she wondered what he was thinking. With a smile, she casually walked over to him and gave him a quick kiss. Per usual, their relationship was being carefully scrutinized by a crowd of jealous onlookers. 

"Do you want to come in for awhile?" she took his hand coyly. 

"Ooooohhh" the girls teased and laughed as David followed her to her room.

As the door closed behind him, the act was instantaneously dropped.

"Where have you been? So what, you drop a bomb on me that you're pregnant and you're just ignoring me now?" 

David's hands tensed at his side in barely controlled rage and hurt. 

"I told you I loved you. Do you know I've never told another girl that? Never. And I wasted it on you."

Jessie's pity changed to barely repressed fury. 

"Why are you here David?" She asked coldly.

Once again, he looked at her in sadness and confusion. It was as if all the joy and passion of their relationship had been thrown into an abyss that now served as a chasm between them. 

"I'm here because you're not answering my calls. I'm here because..." 

He ran his hands through his hair again in that David-like move. How often had she teased him that he'd go bald from running his hands through his hair all the time? There were no inside jokes now. There was no playfulness and certainly no laughter. The baby felt like relationship poison.  

"Jess, I wanted to know if you needed me to take you for the ... procedure."

 He stumbled over his words. 

"I thought maybe you wouldn't like to be alone." 

For a moment, Jessie felt herself stop and analyze the situation. If it wasn't a baby, why would she need comfort? But if it was, why would he push her to do this?

"David. I'm sorry. I've been really scared. This is a big thing for me and I don't know what to do. I haven't made a decision yet. I didn't want to call until I did." 

The words fell lamely between them. They both knew what that meant. She was making this decision without him. 

"So, you're not even going to take my thoughts into consideration?" 

David's consternation was rising again.  

"You're just going to have this baby. And then what Jessie? Are you going to come after me for money? Want childcare while you pursue your dreams? You know what? No. No." 

David moved towards the door.

"I don't know what your big move is here, but I'm not a part of it. I was willing to help out when I thought you'd see reason. I even brought the cash to pay for it."

Reaching into his pocket, David threw a few hundred dollars on the floor between them. Jessie felt sick to her stomach. 

"Look. Do what you want with this. But know this," he pointed his finger. "I'm not a part of this...thing. I refuse to let my future be in jeopardy because of some little indiscretion." 

He gestured at her. 

"Goodbye, Jess. I really hope you do the right thing." 

Without another word, David closed the door and walked out of her life. Jessie hated herself for listening to his footsteps on the stairs and peering out the window until the last glimpse of him faded away.

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