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Chapter Thirty Seven

June 11,1998

Orlando, Florida


“I’m fine.”



Nick is the complete opposite of fine. I press my ear up against the bathroom door. I hear him cussing and then...silence. The superstitious part of me prays he didn’t just throw a mirror.

I press myself up against the wall and slide down. I press my hand against my cramping stomach and close my eyes.

Twins. Twins was never part of the game plan. How the hell did twins happen? How the hell do women carry twins? I can’t do it...I just can’t. I won’t be able to handle two babies. Two dirty diapers at a time. Two hungry stomachs…

Two shrill cries.

I decide right then and there that I hate sex. I will never have sex again. I hate that I somehow landed in Orlando and in Brian’s bed. I should have been in school studying to be a scientist. Then I’d be on the fast track to graduation and a job that paid crazy money. I’d have a fast two seater car and I’d earn the Nobel Prize and I’d be ridiculously happy…


The longer I sit there, I don’t believe it. Maybe the sex part, but not the other part. Something tells me that I would be extremely lonely.

But twins? That was going in the completely opposite direction.

Then there was Nick...Nick who was locked in the bathroom. Quiet.


“I’m fine!”

The tone of his voice is so not fine. It’s the sound a voice makes when it’s accompanied by crying.

Nick crying is bound to make me cry.

I sit there until my butt falls asleep and my leg gets a giant charlie horse that has me scrambling back up and limping around. I run into a table.


I’m still rubbing my thigh as the bathroom door opens.

“Are you okay?”

“Are you?”

Nick’s eyes are red-rimmed. He presses his head against the doorway.

“You’re going to end up with him. I know it.”

The desolation in his face breaks my heart. I ignore my throbbing thigh puncture.

“Nick, you don’t have to worry.”

“I only got you the first time after fifteen years. I don’t know how many times you two ended up floating back together like two...like two magnets. This was my chance. Now everything’s different. You’ve got a baby with a...a...labia! I’m eighteen years old! I shouldn’t even have to worry about labias.”

“I’m pretty sure you’ve worried yourself about labias for awhile.”

Nick sighs and rubs his face against his arm. “The only regret Brian ever had was not having a girl. He and Leighanne got pregnant after Baylee, but she miscarried. It was a girl. Now here you are...you’ve got like the perfect salt and pepper set. You’re going to end up in his kitchen wearing an apron and he’s going to come home from the road with pork chops and mashed potatoes and gravy waiting.”

“No I’m not.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah,” I smile. “Cause I can’t cook. I can’t boil water.”

Nick scowls. “He won’t care. ‘Cause he’ll have an adorable little boy and an adorable little girl and a hot sexy singing wife. Leighanne will go back to Joe Pesci and probably give birth to a little meatball and I’ll just be left out in the cold. All ‘cause a labia ruined my life.”

“You kinda like saying labia don’t you?”

Nick gives me a watery smile. “What makes you think that?”

I don’t answer. Instead I walk over and wrap my arms around him tightly. He hesitates for only a second before he’s hugging me back.

He is the best friend a girl could have.

“You need to stop worrying. Do you realize what a worse mess I’d be without you?”

He nuzzles my neck. “I just don’t want to have to go through this again. Brian’s my best friend, but you...I’ll fight for you.”

“You don’t have to fight for me.”

“You say that now.”

“I’m never having sex again.”

“You say that now.”

“I’m serious.”

“Brian’s going to pray over you or something and you’re going to be a goner.”

“Pray over me?”

“Girls find his praying sexy.”

I can’t help it. I start laughing. Nick’s arms tighten around me even more.

“Is it crazy for me to hope that the test comes back and I somehow am these kids dad?”

My laughter dies. I run my fingers through his hair.

“I have this feeling that stranger things have happened to us.”

Nick kisses my cheek.

“Actually…..me too.”

June 24, 1998



“This is Dr. Hassel’s office.”

Hassel. Dr. Hassel. Talk about a coincidence.


“The results of your amnio are back.”


“As requested, we sent the results securely to...the other party,” the nurse says cryptically. I wonder if she even knows who the other party is. For our sake, I hope she doesn’t. I can just imagine the news getting leaked…

“The test is 99% conclusive that he is the father.”

For once, I didn’t even have to hold my breath. This I knew.

“Okay. Thank you.”

I start to hang up the phone when I hear the nurse’s voice again.



“Dr. Hassel would like you back in the office tomorrow morning.”

“What? Why?”

The nurse pauses. Now the nerves start.

“He reviewed the ultrasound and found something irregular. He needs you to come in.”

“Irregular? What?”

“It could be nothing,” the nurse adds. “Sometimes it’s just the way a baby is turned.”

“What? What is?”

I wait for her to say labia. I almost hope that she does. That way I can tell Nick when he gets back from the store and we can laugh.

“The doctor wasn’t able to see a few areas of the little girl’s heart. He just wants a closer look.”

“Hey, I got those Cheetos you wanted. Time for an orange finger fig--”

I turn around. Nick takes one look at my face and stops mid-sentence. The phone suddenly feels too heavy for my hand.

“Can you make it at 2?” the nurse asks. She sounds almost nervous.

“Yeah.” My voice sounds weird to my own ears. “2.”

Before she can say another word, I disconnect. I let the phone fall from my hand.

Nick thought the next bomb to drop would be Brian…

He was wrong.