“Yeah, like maybe we alternate months, so that we don’t have to be here at the same time.”
It felt like he’d punched me in the heart.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
“Let me get this straight. You can’t trust yourself around me, so you don’t want to physically see me ever again?”
“That’s not it.”
“Then why else would you not want to be around me?”
He raised his voice, his tone bordering on angry. “Do you really enjoy hearing me and Jade fucking?”
“Well, I don’t want to hear you fucking anyone, either. I’m trying to protect both of us here.”
My blood was boiling. “So, you’d rather just not see me at all?”
“I didn’t say that. But coming up with a schedule is something we should at least consider. I think that would be a smart option.”
The words were flying out of my mouth. “As hard as this has been for me, I’ve never once considered that. That’s the difference between us. I would deal with any amount of discomfort that it took in order to have you in my life. I would never choose any option that involved pretending you didn’t exist. I would take any fragment of you than nothing at all. Clearly, you don’t feel the same about me. So, you know what? Now that I know that…I’m perfectly good with a schedule.” Hot tears streamed down my cheeks.
“Fuck, Patch. Don’t cry.”
I held out my hand as I stood up. “Please. Don’t call me that name ever again.”
He buried his face in his hands and yelled into them, “Fuck!”
I stormed into the kitchen and opened the bottle of tequila, pouring myself another shot. I didn’t bother with the salt or lime and instead just drank it straight.
Justin grabbed the bottle before I could pour another. “You’re gonna make yourself sick.”
“That would be none of your concern.”
The door clicked open at that very moment. Both of our heads turned toward it simultaneously.
His face turned practically white before he flashed the fakest smile and said, “Jade!”
She ran toward him so fast before wrapping her arms around him. “I couldn’t wait till tomorrow. I missed you so much.”
She planted her lips on his, and his body stiffened. You could tell he was uncomfortable kissing her in front of me after what went down tonight.
She pulled away from him. “You smell like tequila.”
“Yeah. Her friend was here and brought it.”
“Glad to see you two are still speaking to each other.” She looked over at me then approached to give me a hug and said, “I missed you, too, Amelia.” Guilt was building within me with each second that her skinny frame pressed into me.
“I’m so glad you’re back,” I lied.
She took a look at my face. “Your eyes look red. Are you okay?”
“Yes. I just drank too much. I’m not used to it.”
“Tequila is rough.” She laughed, looking over at the bottle. “Especially cheap crap like that.”
Jade spent the next several minutes filling me in on all of the theater gossip from Broadway while Justin and I stole awkward glances at each other. When she finished rambling, I decided I needed to excuse myself.
“Well, I’m exhausted. I’m gonna head upstairs.”
“Hope we don’t disturb you too much tonight.” She winked and looked over at Justin. “It’s been a while.”
He looked stoic and extremely uncomfortable.
“Don’t worry about me. Go to town,” I bit out.
Upstairs in my room, I covered my ears with my pillow to mask the sound of his bed shaking. Listening to them having sex was painful beyond belief, but it didn’t compare to the emptiness I was feeling over the conversation Justin and I had.
My stomach was aching. I suddenly felt violently ill. Running to the bathroom, I swore that I would never drink tequila again for as long as I lived, not only because it made me sick to my stomach, but because it would always remind me of this miserable night.
Two days later, and I was still sick. Did hangovers even last this long? I had barely come out of my room. Justin and Jade were preparing to leave the summer house and head back to the city for good. I could hear them slowly packing up their stuff. It was still unclear exactly when they were taking off. Still so incredibly angry at his suggestion that we schedule our stays at the house next summer, I had no desire to face him or even say goodbye.
He hadn’t bothered to come check on me, either. When Jade would peek her head in, I would thank her but tell her to stay away from me so that she didn’t get sick for her return to Broadway. I preferred the idea of not having to talk to them at all again before they left, but I was starting to realize that I really needed to leave my room long enough to pay a visit to the doctor.
Today must have been my lucky day because they’d left the house together just long enough for me to wash up and sneak out without having to face them.
When I arrived at the clinic, they made me wait about a half-hour before being seen. I couldn’t risk going to the emergency room at Newport Hospital because the last thing I needed was to end up getting seen by Will Danger. So, I drove out of the way to find this small walk-in facility.
A nurse finally called me. “Amelia?”
I followed her down the winding hallways into a cold, small examination room where she had me wait for another twenty minutes. When the doctor finally showed, I explained all of my symptoms: nausea, vomiting, fatigue. I told her I’d been feeling sick on and off all summer and admitted to drinking a lot a couple of days prior, but they ruled out alcohol poisoning. I also mentioned Justin’s illness in case it was somehow related to that.
When I admitted to not having seen a doctor in over two years, she insisted on running some tests just to be sure that everything was okay with me. She sent me down to the lab where a phlebotomist drew blood from my arm. I also peed in a cup. This was turning out to be too complicated.
The blood test results would be back in a few days. I was just about to leave the office when the doctor caught me out in the reception area. “Ms. Payne?”
“Can you come back into my office for a moment please?”
My heart was racing. Something didn’t seem right about this scenario. They told me they would call me. What did she need to see me about all of a sudden?
“As you know, the lab downstairs took your blood, and those results won’t be in for a bit, but testing the urine sample is a much quicker process. You had indicated that you weren’t sexually active, but it turns out you’re pregnant.”
“That’s not possible.”
“I’m afraid it is.”
“I’ve even had my period.”
“That could have been spotting or some intermittent bleeding that wasn’t menstruation. You mentioned that you’d been drinking a lot lately. Is it possible that you had sexual relations that you are unaware of?”
Wracking my brain, I thought back to the last time I had sex. It was with Adam a few months ago—the night we broke up. We’d always used condoms, so it seemed impossible.
“Are you sure?”
“These tests are quite accurate, yes.”
“Can you run it again?”
“I’ll tell you what. There’s an OB GYN office in this building. If they can squeeze you in, I’ll see if they would be willing to do a quick sonogram. I can’t guarantee that they will have the availability, but I’ll call them. Why don’t you wait in the reception area?”