AN: Third chapter of my original contest entry and another 3 to go before we start on the new stuff.
My thanks as always are with MeteorOnAMoonlessNight, anna harding and Midnight Cougar for their stellar work
Every review I get makes my heart beat faster, and I love follows and favourites just as much
Disclaimer: SM owns it all
Third Time's the Charm Part 1 Chapter 3
Left pregnant and alone, Bella delivers a surprise to the paramedic who knocks on her door.
So Tyler became my hero, at least for a while. From then on, we were joined at the hip. He'd gone to the party with a girlfriend, who'd hooked up with someone else, and had been on his way out of the house when he heard me yelling. He didn't belong to any fraternity, and had only been there as a plus one.
I gave him my virginity as a twentieth birthday gift. We'd indulged with hands and mouths, giving each other pleasure, but he never pressured me for more. While there was more between us than there had ever been between Riley and me, there weren't any sparks or the feeling he was the one, though I hoped those feelings would grow.
In our third year, we moved into an apartment together, and it wasn't long before the cracks began to show. He was a terrible slob, leaving the cap off the toothpaste, wet towels on the floor, and the toilet seat up. It didn't seem to matter how many times I suggested, cajoled, asked, or nagged; he couldn't, or didn't want to, see the problem.
Most mornings, I found a coffee table covered in beer bottles, half-empty plates or take-out cartons, and ashtrays where he and his friends had stayed up all night. I cleaned up and it was back in the same state by the time I got home after classes.
I didn't expect him to do a lot, but when he couldn't be bothered to even put his dishes in the dishwasher or remember to get groceries, I was beginning to think I never knew the real Tyler. True, the apartment he'd shared with three other guys was always a mess, but at the time I'd looked beyond it—as it was acceptable for four guys to be messy. He did improve over the first year and our relationship improved, so I mostly cleaned up and ignored his messy behavior.
The only reason Tyler hadn't flunked out was the fact that he was an outstanding ball player. His coach and the rest of his tutors got together to make sure his grades were high enough to keep him in the program. He always managed to stay in by the skin of his teeth.
A couple of months before graduation, he'd been scouted and joined the Chicago Bears. Terrible as it sounded, I found myself looking forward to him being on away games; the apartment was quieter, and definitely cleaner, and I enjoyed the respite it gave me.
I had been really lucky and had managed to get an intern position at The Chicago Tribune the summer before graduation, and when I finally received my diploma, they offered me a job. It was a low position as a writer for a column situated close to the back pages, but I was thrilled.
When my period was late, I was totally shocked. I'd never been late before. Tyler was away, and I spent the next couple of days in denial. I couldn't possibly be pregnant, could I? We'd always been so careful; I wasn't ready for a family, and Tyler was too much into his career for us even to think of a future of any sort. I couldn't think of any time we'd taken a risk, or any other reason for me to be pregnant. I lived in denial.
Eventually, I plucked up the courage to buy a test from the local pharmacy, putting it out of sight if not mind. When my period was over two weeks late, I could no longer deny I needed to know the truth. Plans would need to be made.
The test sat on the bathroom counter for another two days until I mentally kicked myself. "Come on, Swan. Burying your head in the sand isn't going to make this magically go away. Just take the damn test." Right then, I really could have done with some support, and I wished I'd kept the contact up between me, Alice, and Rose. They'd been my closest friends, but real life kind of got in the way.
The following day was Saturday. Before I could procrastinate further, I grabbed the test, ripping it open. Setting a three-minute alarm on my phone, I sat on the toilet and peed on the stick. I placed it on the counter and finished my business, washing my hands before lowering the lid of the toilet and taking a seat again.
I could feel my heartbeat speed up as each second of the imaginary ticking clock passed. My skin felt too tight, and I was alternately hot and cold. For all my procrastination, there was a quiet voice in my head telling me the truth. I knew it already, so when the alarm on my phone split the air with a shriek, I didn't jump. Instead, I stood slowly and picked up the test. I let out the breath I'd been holding at the sight of the plus sign in the little window.
I allowed myself to wallow until Monday morning, and then during my lunch break, I made an appointment at my doctor's office. I wanted to have the backup of the doctor's diagnosis before I spoke to Tyler. He wasn't due home for another ten days, so I had plenty of time to work out how to tell him. I could only hope he would be open to the idea of a child.
It would be a shock to him, more so than it was for me. After all, it was my body, and I'd had more time to get used to the idea. Despite my initial trepidation and the feeling of not being quite ready for this, I knew, without a doubt, I would be keeping this baby. There was no way, now that I knew about him or her, adoption or abortion was even a minute possibility.
I took a vacation day the following Friday for my first prenatal appointment. I hadn't seen Dr. Cullen before, having always had my appointments with Dr. Irina Denali, but she'd left the practice since the last time I'd attended, and he was the permanent replacement. The visit was only a confirmation; I knew I was pregnant.
Friday morning dawned freezing cold, telling me winter was on its way. When I arrived ten minutes before my appointment, Dr. Cullen was already in his office and I was shown into the room. He stood and came around the desk to shake my hand.
"Good morning, Miss Swan. I'm Dr. Carlisle Cullen, the permanent replacement for Dr. Denali. Please let me know if you're not comfortable seeing a male doctor and I can arrange for a colleague to take you on." His smile was wide and welcoming and immediately made me feel at ease.
"No, Dr. Cullen, thank you, but I'm absolutely fine staying under your care." He was a very handsome man with his twinkling blue eyes and blond hair, but it was his manner that put me at ease. Instead of sitting back behind his desk, he took the seat beside me.
"Now, Miss Swan, I understand your home pregnancy test showed a positive result."
"Yes, I took the test on Saturday morning, so I'm here for what comes next."
"Well, those tests are pretty accurate and they rarely show a false positive, but we'll do a test to confirm. When was your last period?" He moved back to the seat behind the desk and woke up his computer screen with a small movement of the mouse.
"I'm not too sure; since I get the shot, my periods are either light or non-existent. I think the last one was October sixth."
He checked something on the screen. "Well, I can see from my records that you were a week late for your shot, which might be the reason for your pregnancy. The shot is usually pretty reliable, but even a short gap can result in conception. That's sort of irrelevant now, isn't it? Okay, with today being November thirtieth, that makes you around eight weeks with a due date of July twelfth."
Tyler would be away until early December. I didn't mind too much—the peace and quiet was welcome, and now it would give me a couple of weeks to work out how to tell him his life was about to change.
"Well, let's get the questions out of the way, and then we'll do a scan to take a look and listen for a heartbeat." He proceeded to ask me what seemed to be a hundred questions before checking my height, weight, and blood pressure. "I'll need a urine and blood sample, neither of which is anything to worry about." He indicated the adjoining bathroom where I produced a sample for him and then, when I returned, he took what seemed like far too much blood for a few tests.
"Is there any history of high blood pressure or diabetes in your family? These can be an indicator of the possibility of gestational diabetes or high blood pressure during your pregnancy."
"I don't know about my mom. She left when I was nine, and I have no idea where she is now. My dad has high blood pressure, although it's only happened recently. He's the Chief of Police of the little town I come from, and it can be a stressful job. Do I need to find out about my mom?"
"No, it's fine; we'll just keep a close eye on you. The best thing you can do is not to allow yourself to get stressed. Now, I think I have enough information for the moment. I do have to perform a pap test so if you could change into the gown on the bed behind the curtain and get comfortable on the table, I'll go and ask the nurse to step in for a few minutes."
Those tests were never comfortable, neither physically nor emotionally, but Dr. Cullen was quick and gentle. "All done now, Miss Swan. I'll give you some privacy so you can redress." He drew the curtains around the exam table, and I heard him thank the nurse for her assistance. The room was empty when I emerged from behind the curtain, and I took the seat in front of his desk again.
The door opened a minute or two later, and Dr. Cullen returned to his seat. "Everything looks absolutely fine, Miss Swan. I'll let you know the results of the tests as soon as I have them. Now, there's one thing left to do. If you can pop up onto the table, we can have a listen to your baby's heartbeat and take a few pictures."
Suddenly, I was really excited for the first sight of my baby. Dr. Cullen asked me to lift my top out of the way and roll down the waistband of my pants. He gave me some paper towels to protect my clothing. "This will be a little cold," he murmured as he squeezed the blue gel on my stomach.
There was silence in the room as he moved the transducer backward and forward across my belly. Then, to my surprise, the room was filled with a fast whooshing sound.
"Is—is that my baby?" My words came out in a whisper. No matter which way I looked at the screen, I couldn't make out the shape of a baby, but Dr. Cullen was smiling, so I guessed he was happy with whatever he found.
"It is, Miss Swan, and he or she is healthy and the right size for your dates, so that's confirmation of a due date of July twelfth or thereabouts. It's not an exact science, and your baby will decide when he or she is ready to face the world."
"When will I be able to find out if it's a boy or a girl?"
"We won't be able to see that for some time yet. You can book an appointment at reception for your next check-up, but your next scan will be at twenty weeks. In the meantime, if you have any worries or questions, please don't hesitate to make an appointment or call the office."
I left his office on a high with a prescription for prenatal vitamins and a further appointment. The receptionist smiled at my excitement and handed me a pile of informational leaflets. I stood outside in the weak sunshine, and I couldn't contain the smile inside me as it broke out across my face. I could have danced on the spot, but I felt it would look a little odd. Instead, I decided to walk to the L rather than take the bus, and make my way downtown to my favorite bookshop.
The excitement bubbled under my skin, and I refused to allow myself to think about Tyler's reaction. I wanted to find out as much as I could about my baby and its development over the next few months, and then I'd treat myself to lunch.
By the time I got to town, I was beginning to feel hungry since breakfast had been small and very early. Finding myself outside a café I'd seen before but never been inside, I decided to stop for a sandwich and a cup of tea. I had read somewhere about pregnant women developing a dislike of coffee and too much caffeine being bad for the baby. I mentally hugged myself at the thought of it never being too early for me to start taking care of my child and me.
After ordering a sandwich, a salad, and the tea, I took a seat at the window, and pulled out the leaflets the receptionist had given me. For the next hour, I devoured them from cover to cover, unaware of anything going on around me.
"Hi, Bella. Can I join you?" Bree Tanner was standing beside the chair on the opposite side of my table. I nodded, but groaned internally. Bree was the biggest gossip I knew, and having known Jessica Stanley, that was saying something. I quickly slid the leaflets into my bag, but not before I saw her eyes widen.
I waited for her to say something, but she didn't mention the subject; instead, she gossiped about the NFL circuit and who was doing what or whom. She was the longtime girlfriend of Garrett Summers, who also played for the Bears, and I really hoped she'd keep her mouth shut. Any word I said about the baby and being pregnant would go straight back to Garrett, and the team members were bigger gossips than most women. Maybe, I mused, she'd assume it was for someone else, or that Tyler and I were discussing the idea of having a baby. Either way, it was better if I said nothing at all.
Ten minutes was the longest I could bear to sit opposite Bree, so it wasn't long before I said my goodbyes and headed down the street and into my favorite bookshop. The time passed so much quicker when I was in there, and it was almost five o'clock when I finally emerged. Not only did I buy three books on pregnancy, I also added another four books I'd wanted to read for some time.
It was twilight, and without the moon, it would be fully dark shortly. The shop windows were already alight with decorations ready for Christmas. My mind was imagining a little boy or girl's first Christmas. He or she would be five months old and probably as interested in the packaging as the presents. I shook away the daydreams and shivered, the temperature having dropped considerably since I'd entered the store. I decided to treat myself again today, and called for an Uber, which was only a few minutes away.
The ride was over quick, and I hurried into the apartment building, nodding at the concierge before stepping into the elevator and pressing the button for the fourth floor. I was thankful Tyler and I had made sure we chose a place with individual heating, and pleased I'd remembered to set the timer as soon as the colder weather started. I hung up my coat and dumped my purse on the foyer table before kicking off my shoes. I turned the thermostat up a little and headed to the bedroom to change.
It didn't take long for the pizza I ordered to arrive. I grabbed a soda from the refrigerator, already replacing the wine I would usually have opened. After I'd finished my soda, I leaned back, gazing around the apartment, my imagination filling in the space with baby paraphernalia. Everything I did and thought now revolved around the baby I was carrying, and I wondered if maybe Tyler and I would be able to find a small house to rent or buy. I wanted my child to have some outside space to play in, and I wanted a decent kitchen. We only had one bedroom, which would be fine for a while, but since he or she would eventually need their own space, it made sense for us to move. Why not choose a place with a yard and room to grow?
That night I fell asleep to dreams of a sweet little house, playrooms full of toys, and a nursery where a baby slept peacefully.
~ oOo ~