This Man Confessed (Page 36)

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‘I’m fine.’ I say haughtily.

He doesn’t say anything. He takes the water from Doctor Monroe when she returns and assures her that I’m in good hands. I don’t doubt him. I always feel safe in his hands. If it wasn’t for the small problem of him being so sly and underhanded, he would be perfect. We would be perfect.

He remains crouched behind me, holding my hair back and offering me water every now and then whilst I compose myself. ‘I’m good.’ I assure him as I wipe my mouth with tissue. I know there’s no more to come up. I feel empty.

‘Here,’ He pulls me to my feet and settle’s my hair down my back. ‘Do you want some more water?’

I take the glass from him and walk over to the sinks to wash my hands. I sip, swill and spit to clean my mouth out, and as I look up into the mirror, I see Jesse standing behind me. He looks worried. I brush my cheeks and ruffle my hair.

‘Let me take you home.’ he says as he comes to stand closer.

‘Jesse, I’m fine, really.’

He reaches around me and strokes his hand down my cheek. ‘Let me look after you.’

It suddenly registers that he wants me to need him. He feels useless, my absence from him since I walked out probably worsening it. Can I be so mean and deny him this?

‘I’m okay.’ I step back and pick my bag up from where I dumped it.

‘You’re not okay, Ava.’

‘Something hasn’t agreed with me, that’s all.’ My hand is twitching by my side.

‘For f**k sake, lady! You’re at the f**king doctor’s, so don’t tell me you’re fine!’ He clutches at his hair and shouts as he swings his body away from me in frustration.

‘I’m not pregnant.’ I blurt quickly, but then suddenly contemplate the horrific thought of him not wanting me if he thinks that. My heart constricts painfully in my chest. I feel sick again.

‘What?’ He’s quickly facing me, his eyes shocked, his body twitching. He really does want this badly.

I fight my natural reflex, trying desperately to keep my hands by my side. ‘I’ve had it confirmed, Jesse.’

‘Then why are you throwing up all over the place?’

‘I have a bug.’ My excuse is feeble, but by the look on his face, which I’m definitely not mistaking as devastation, he believes me. ‘You failed. My period came.’

He doesn’t know what to say. His eyes are flicking all over the bathroom, and he’s still twitching. My fear is only strengthened by his reaction to my lie. I’m confused, exhausted and utterly heartbroken. No baby equals no Jesse. It’s all very clear now.

‘I’m not happy about this. I’m taking you home where I can keep an eye on you.’ He takes my hand, but I pull it away, bristling immediately at his comment. He’s not happy? He wants to keep an eye on me? What, to check if I’m bleeding?

‘You’re never happy with me.’ I look him square in the eyes. ‘I’m always doing something to upset you. Have you thought that perhaps you would be less not happy without me around?’

‘No!’ He looks horrified ‘I’m worried, that’s all.’

‘Well, don’t be. I’m fine.’ I snap, leaving the ladies in a complete haze.

I walk out of the Doctor’s, straight into the chemist outside of the surgery and hand my prescription over the counter, then sit myself in a chair and watch as Jesse paces up and down outside with his hands shoved into his trouser pockets. Returning my body forward, I notice the pharmacist glancing up at me every now and again, and it’s then I realise he’s probably thinking that I eat my pills. The temptation to explain myself nearly makes me stand and approach the counter, but he calls my name, and I’m approaching to take the paper bag from him.

‘Thank you,’ I smile before making my escape, but only to go and face my brooding man outside.

‘What’s that?’ His eyes are fixed on the bag.

‘Back-up pills.’ I hiss in his face. ‘Now we know that I’m not pregnant, I want to stay that way.’

His shoulders slump and his head drops. I’m battling consuming guilt at his reaction to my news, but I have to ignore it. Sidestepping him, I start walking away, my legs a little shaky, my heart pounding relentlessly in my chest.

‘You’re not coming home, are you?’ he calls after me.

I squeeze the bulge back in my throat and march on. No, I’m not going home, but the plan was for just five days so I can avoid being caught lying to him, then worry about the hospital when I get an appointment. But his words carry an air of finality, and more worryingly, he’s not demanding that I stay with him. If I remove this baby from my life, it’s becoming quite obvious that I’ll be removing Jesse, too. That thought alone has my emotions taking hold. A life without Jesse?

I walk against the breeze, my face wet with tears.

Chapter 9

The empty feeling was inevitable. The hollow, desolate, miserable feeling was inevitable. But the overwhelming guilt that has swamped me was not so expected. I fought off twinges here and there, when he was in front of me, looking so defeated, but now I’m consumed by it. And I’m furious for feeling like this. The lack of urgency to chase my scan appointment is also screwing with my mind.

It’s Friday. It’s day number four without Jesse. My week has been a steady torture, and I know it’s never going to get better. My heart is slowly splitting, each day widening the crack until I know I’ll probably cease functioning. I’m close already. What hurts the most is the lack of contact, leaving me wondering if Jesse is drowning in vodka, which also means he’s probably drowning in women. I jump up from my desk and run to the toilets, throwing up immediately, but I don’t think this is morning sickness, or anytime of the day sickness. This is grief.

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