Our friends and family all begin to cheer and clap as Ryder and I walk back up the aisle. We take some pictures out in the gardens, and then head into the barn for the reception.
It all seems to happen so fast. We dance, we eat, we dance some more. Everyone is having a great time, and that makes me so happy. From the corner of my eye, Tara is waving me over with a quick hand.
Kissing Ryder on the cheek, I say, “I'll be right back.” Hurrying over to Tara, I ask, “Did you get it?”
“Yeah, I put in the upstairs bathroom. You want me to come with you?”
“No, that's all right. Can you just send Ryder inside for me in like fifteen minutes?”
“You really think—”
“No, no, I don't think so. I'm sure it'll be fine. But just in case, tell him I need his help for a minute. If it's nothing, I'll at least be able to grab a few minutes alone with him.” Lifting the front of my dress, I head into the house, doing my best to navigate the tight hall to the bathroom.
Opening the cabinets, I shuffle through the drawers, and under the sink. Checking the closet, I eventually find the small plastic bag tucked in my makeup bag. I haven't touched that bag in months, so it's funny to me my friend from the city would think to put it there.
I should have known.
Tugging up my dress, it's even harder to navigate the toilet, but I get it done. It's a stupid test, but it'll ease my nerves a little bit. Ryder and I haven't exactly been cautious, but we've been together for over six months and nothing has happened yet.
The only reason I even want to take a pregnancy test is because I haven't felt like myself the past few days. Throwing up daily isn't normal for me but getting married causes your nerves to run wild, too.
This is just to ease my nerves.
If it comes back negative, there's no reason to think my upset stomach is anything other than being crazy nervous. If it's positive, then Ryder and I have a few things to think about. Our plans will have to change a little, but it will be worth it.
Tapping my nails against the sink, I pace back and forth in front of the mirror. I'm nervous, more nervous right now than I was before the ceremony. Nibbling on the tip of my nail, I can't sit still.
My pulse is beating rapidly, sending a cold chill down my spine. I'm breathing fast, only able to inhale short gulps of air. I have no idea how long it's been. The box says to wait three minutes, but time feels like it's going by so damn slow.
Screw it. I'm looking anyway.
Snatching the plastic strip off the back of the toilet, I hold it in my hands and close my eyes. I want to look, but something is stopping me.
Fear. Uncertainty. Excitement. It all flows through me in a matter of seconds. If it's positive, how do I know I'll be a good mother? If it's positive, how do I know I'll be able to give a child everything they might need?
If it's negative, will the disappointment crush me, or will it make me breathe a sigh of relief?
I won't know until I get the answer.
Cautiously, I open my eyes, keeping them on the ceiling. The plastic strip is tightly perched between my fingertips, and already I can feel my hand shaking.
Exhaling an audible breath, I count to three.
One, two, three. . .
I'm smiling instantly. All the doubting thoughts I had vanish, and I'm filled with nothing but happiness. It's a happiness I've never felt before. An instant love. A love that's so strong, so intense, so real, I can feel it as it seeps from my heart and fills my soul.
Sitting down on the toilet, I start to cry. Resting my hand on my stomach, I whisper. “Welcome to the world.”
There's a soft knock on the door, causing me to sniffle and clear my throat. “Yeah?” I ask.
“Jenna, you all right?” Ryder asks. “Can I come in?”
“Yeah, you can come in.”
He opens the door and pokes his head in first. “Tara said you were looking for me. Are you okay? Why are you crying?” He squeezes through the small opening he made, closing the door behind him.
Grabbing some toilet paper, I wipe my eyes. I can't find the words to tell him we're having a baby.
Concern falls over his face as he walks over to me and drops down to the floor so we're at eye level. Running his thumb under my eyes, he tilts his head. “Baby, what's wrong? You're not having second thoughts about getting married, are you?”
Shaking my head no, I smile. “No, that's not it at all. I'm happy, Ryder, I'm really, really happy to be your wife.”