Josalee threw up when the two little pink lines blurred into existence. After her coffee came up, bitter and sour, she sat with her back against the tub, her chest bouncing in rhythmic hiccups. She stared up at the counter where the positive test sat, then glanced at the clock. David would be home any second. She tied back her black hair, pulled herself up, and tossed the test in the garbage.
She cried as she brought the bathroom garbage out. Normally, David would be the first person she told. She could count on him to come home, hold her while she cried, and run out for ice cream. If things were just a little different, they would joke about how one-night stands had side effects. Her hands shook as she climbed the stairs back up to their little apartment. She went back into the bathroom.
* * * * *
She stopped crying in time to hear David’s key. She splashed cold water on her face, then dried off with a chocolate brown towel he picked out for their place. She once brought home an antique end table. Its teal paint peeled in strips and it wobbled, but she loved it the second she saw it at the thrift store. “Girl, you are no Martha Stewart,” he told her, rolling his eyes. The end table sat in her bedroom ever since.
The front door opened as she came out of the bathroom. David’s keys jangled against each other as he fought to tug them out.
She rolled her almond shaped eyes. “Jiggle it a little,” she called.
He glanced up. “Duh! Why can’t I ever remember?”
She smiled, but her eyes felt like little brown stones in her head.
“How was your day, JoJo?” he asked as he tossed his keys into the little baby blue bowl on the brown front table.
She sat on an arm of the couch and picked at the piping. “Good.”
David hung up his coat. “Did you get a lot of work done?”
“I went to Dark Brew.” She stared at the piping.
His face lit up. “Oh! Was that boy there?!” He practically ran over to the couch and sat next to her. “Do tell!”
I am such an idiot, she thought. “No. I just sketched for a little while by myself,” she said. Then I went to the pharmacy.
David started to pat her thigh, then retracted his hand as though she were on fire. He nodded. “Good. You working tonight, or are we watching Grey’s Anatomy?”
She glanced at his hand, which gripped his knee. “I’m… working,” she said. Her stomach churned.
“Aw,” he whined. “You’re always working on Grey’s nights! You need to get yourself a nine to five, girl!” He jumped up. “I’ll DVR it for you, since someone still can’t figure out the remote.”
“Thanks,” she said. She tried to think of something else to talk about. We have so few safe subjects these days, she thought. “Hey. Did you get that fever checked out?”
He shrugged. “They told me it was probably from ‘overexertion,’ and to rest up and blah, blah, blah.” He rolled his eyes. “Overexertion. Can you believe it?” Their eyes met for a second, then they both looked away. “All set,” he said, and put the remote down. “I guess I’m on my own for dinner.” He wandered into the kitchen.
She sighed, and pretended to go get ready for work.
* * * * *
Josalee took the next bus to the library. She logged into a computer with her library ID and Googled “pregnancy symptoms.” The website still said the same things: nausea, vomiting, sore breasts, positive pregnancy test. She drummed her fingers on the wooden desk and stared at the screen.
Josalee jumped. She closed the webpage and turned in her seat. “Oh. Hey Ingrid.” She gave her friend a waxen smile.
Ingrid’s blond hair was pulled up into a bun, remnants of her grown out bangs falling into her eyes. She brushed them back with a slender hand. “What’re you doing here?” Ingrid asked.
Josalee chewed on her lower lip. Her mind raced through possible excuses. “Just killing some time. I’m on my lunch.” Her eyes darted from Ingrid to the dark computer screen, her heart thudding in her chest. The air in the library felt stuffy, stagnant—too many old books and not enough open windows. “So what’re you doing here?”
“Well,” Ingrid said, her blue eyes narrowed, “I need to write an IEP for one of my students, and the house is way too quiet. Victor’s always out lately.” She sighed.
Josalee frowned. “Well, it’s good you got out of the house,” she offered, but the words didn’t sound quite as comforting out loud as they had in her head. “Now you can have some adult interaction.”
Ingrid shrugged. “I like my students. They all want to be around me.”
Josalee’s shoulders slumped. Normally, she’d offer to buy coffee, but all she wanted to do was get away before Ingrid could ask more questions. She stood. “I’m sorry, hon, but I’ve gotta get going.”
Ingrid sighed. “I know. I don’t want to make you late. Call me later?”
Josalee nodded, then hurried out of the library. She caught another bus and took it to the cemetery at the edge of town. When she and David were teenagers, they snuck out and sat on the bridge over the lake—David to escape his homophobic parents, Josalee to escape her overprotective Japanese father.
She sat on the concrete wall and stared at the pipe that curved in an upside down U and led nowhere. Beneath her, inky water flowed through the dam. Moonlight reflected off the lake’s surface, and the cool, grassy scent of spring filled her nostrils. She stared at the dark water and felt her center calm to the same stillness.
If things were different, she might welcome a baby; David would make a much better uncle.
Buy Season One Now
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